Mission officials dedicate new American Stroke Foundation operation at Sylvester Powell Center

Betty McMahon of Overland Park exercises on equipment reserved for the American Stroke Foundation Next Step program.
Betty McMahon of Overland Park exercises on equipment reserved for the American Stroke Foundation Next Step program.

The American Stroke Foundation has relocated its “Next Step” rehabilitation program in Mission a few blocks to the Sylvester Powell Community Center, a move that’s opened more opportunities for helping people recover from the disease.

Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt led the ribbon-cutting event Friday at the Powell Center, although the move from the previous site at 5916 Dearborn actually occurred in August.

It was great day for Cheryl Douglas, one of the caregivers.

“This is such an open and bright place and people are so friendly,” she said. “It’s a blessing for all the stroke survivors on the road to recovery.”

About 30 stroke survivors served by the association are now using exercise facilities that were unavailable before including the pool and walking track, said Jane Savage, the leader of the foundation.

“We are so excited about the facility,” she said. “The pool and additional equipment here are helping our folks move forward.”

The American Stroke Foundation was founded locally in 2000. It now has three “Next Step” facilities in addition to Sylvester Powell, the Blue Springs Family YMCA and the Cleaver Family YMCA in Kansas City. It serves about 100 people overall.

“We started the foundation because it was identified that when you have a stroke and your insurance runs out, you were sent home and told good luck,” Savage said. “You still might not be able to walk or talk and there were few resources available.”

Each facility uses the services of an occupational therapy staff, students and stroke survivors. Occupational therapy and speech therapy students from colleges and universities rotate through the program on three month shifts.

The program operates at the Sylvester Powell Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The monthly cost is $70 for each person, and there is financial assistance available for those who qualify.

“It’s a win-win for the city and the foundation,” said Christy Humerickhouse from the City of Mission. “We’re so glad the stroke center reached out to us.”

Savage said relocating from the previous facility to the Powell Center also was a great way to reintegrate stroke survivors into the community.

Ronn Looney of Lenexa exercises under the supervision of trainer Theo Pappas at the American Stroke Foundation Next Step program.
Ronn Looney of Lenexa exercises under the supervision of trainer Theo Pappas at the American Stroke Foundation Next Step program.