Stroke is the second most frequent cause of death after coronary artery disease, accounting for 6.4 million deaths across the world.
One out of three people who have a stroke are under 65 years old.
Babies. Teenagers. College kids. Singles. Moms and Dads of little ones. At any age stroke can occur.
On December of 4th, 2008, I was in a medical coma.
Bernard Kaplan: The brain surgeon was obviously upset – he said there were two choices – do nothing and let him die or do a hemicraniectomy and evacuate a clot the size of a fist. He gave us a grave prognosis: even if he lives, he would be aphasic, hemiplegic and possibly incapable of understanding anything. Later, after the post-op CT scan, we were given really grim news. The clot damaged or destroyed so much of his brain, Alon will never talk again and may not understand what he is being told. He will be a hemiplegic. We are heartbroken. Helpless. There is a gaping hole in the center of our lives.
Alon: I lived!
Doctor: Current evidence indicates that most significant recovery gains will occur within the three months following a stroke.
Alon: NOPE! The brain and the body heal themselves indefinitely given the right encouragement, the right equipment and the right exercises.
During the one month of in-patient therapy after my stroke, I did not get the help I needed to advance my recovery. The protocols in use were very limiting. I knew it. I snuck into the therapy room at night to do my own work-outs. Even so, when I left the hospital after one month I could not walk, speak or use the shoulder, arm, hand and leg on my right side. Mute and hemiplegic, I went home.
My doctors and my therapists told my family that the stroke patient’s window of opportunity for further recovery closes about six months after the stroke. I had six months of outpatient therapy and was still mute and could walk with my right foot dragging. Very few professionals thought I would get any better.
I decided to follow my instincts and experiment on my own body to find ways to improve my recovery.
Neuroplasticity! That’s the brain and nervous system’s secret weapon.
I envisioned equipment and thought up exercises to help my body relearn how to do things, to speak, to walk, to drive, to care for my family.
I found people to build the equipment for me and these are Alontree products I want to bring to other stroke people.
Using this equipment I learned to walk, climb stairs, carry laundry baskets. I began to be able to communicate verbally instead of miming everything.
I went back to the doctor in my improved state
Doctor: Well-it’s complicated—and…you are a healthy human specimen. Not every one can do what you have done.
Alon: Wrong! It takes time and effort, but because of neuroplasticity and with the right equipment and encouragement, many stroke people can improve well beyond the expectations of the medical profession. Now I can do yoga, dance, take care of my children, drive and communicate quite well.
Going beyond what common medical wisdom suggested is possible, not just for me but for others of all ages who have had strokes. That’s where you come into the picture friends, fellow stroke people. To manufacture, test and sell Alontree products requires funding. We are running a crowdfunding project to help move from prototypes to production and patents.
I am Alon Kaplan and my company is Alontree. The designs are attractive, useable by hemiplegic people and others with weakened muscles, and affordable.
I want other stroke people to dance, do yoga, care for their families.