Society / The Seen

18-Year-Old Stroke Victim Inspires a Houston Crowd in the Fight Against Aphasia

Vital Programs Get a Boost

BY // 04.01.19
photography Daniel Ortiz

The importance of the Houston Aphasia Recovery Center was brought home in powerful words during the annual “Let’s Talk” luncheon at the Post Oak Hotel. Via video and on stage in the words of two afflicted with aphasia, the gathering of more than 400 learned that the loss of communication through stroke or brain injury can be eased and even abated through programs such as those offered by HARC.

HARC participant Regina Johnson spoke on the work of the organization that is helping her speech impairment while HARC speech language pathologist Jackie C. Freer emphasized the importance of language based programs that provide people with aphasia the ability to further their language recovery and gain the confidence to live successfully with the condition.

Delivering a compelling message on the potential for aphasia recovery were Brits Joanie Scott and her daughter, Sarah Scott, who at age 18 suffered aphasia following a stroke that also took away her ability to read and write. The duo flew in from England for the presentation as Sarah Scott, who today speaks beautifully and reads and writes, has become an international advocate for aphasia education.

The luncheon honored the University of Houston’s  Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders with the Honorary Partnership Award, presented by HARC executive director Eleni Christou-Franklin and accepted by Dr. Peggy Blake, UH professor and chair of the department.

Chairing the luncheon, which raised more than $230,000 for HARC programs, were Belinda and Corky Hillhouse with Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin serving as honorary chairs. The latter tapped this writer to serve as luncheon emcee.

PC Seen: HARC board chair Laura K. Devitt, the Rev. R-J Heijmen of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Melissa and Scot Ison, Kristi and Stuart Ison, Rita Justice, Margie and Bubba Dorrance, Karen and Murry Penner, Kristi and Ken Breaux, Lisa Riney, Ginny Jackson, Dan O’Connor, Dr. Lynn Maher, Grace Kim, Rose Cullen, Ann Bastain, Franelle Rogers, Rosie Carraba, Jane Wagner, Julie and Stephen Chen and Kim and Kyle Schuenemann.

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