Stroke Education

The primary mission of the RTH Foundation is to prevent stroke by conducting community education seminars and screenings and providing stroke survivors and their families with education and support. Please review the articles below to learn more about strokes.

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RTH Foundation Unveils Its Shadow of Stroke Campaign

Last week, the RTH Stroke Foundation unveiled its new ‘Shadow of Stroke Campaign’ which was created in an effort to spread vital awareness on stroke to the public. Many institutions and organizations have their own flyers and infographics circulating around the internet that spread stroke awareness and the Foundation felt that it was time to produce their own.

The mission of the RTH Stroke Foundation’s new campaign is to educate the public on the symptoms of stroke as well as the risk factors that increase an individual’s chance of having one. A secondary objective of the campaign is to create a novel characterization of stroke that people can associate the disease with. Instead of thinking of stroke as a single symptom or risk factor, the Foundation hopes to embody the disease in the character of a shadow that follows us in our daily lives in each and every decision we make. The shadow is symbolic of all the risk factors and symptoms as a whole.

The shadow of stroke takes the lives of 130,000 people in the United States each year, and the final aim of the campaign is to make the public understand that the shadow is 80% preventable and does not have to happen with appropriate exercise and thoughtful eating.

Currently, there are 3 infographics up on the Shadow of Stroke website to kick start the campaign, and more graphics as well as video content will be produced and added to the site in the coming months.

The RTH Stroke Foundation alone can not make this campaign successful however, it is from our great visitors, friends, and allies like you in the fight against stroke, that we need help from in spreading this information. The RTH Stroke Foundation encourages all of our visitors, friends, and more to download the infographics and share the message online or through print with everyone they know.

Together, we can make the Shadow of Stroke fade away forever.

Select here to go to the Shadow of Stroke website!

A New Frontier of Stroke Education

In February of 2016, the foundation entered into a new frontier of stroke prevention and awareness. Since 1998, the Foundation has been focused on educating an 18+ demographic, but February saw the Foundation entering into high schools to educate the youth on the dangers of America’s top five killer. For three straight weeks the SMART Staff of the RTH Stroke Foundation entered into Anaheim High School and educated a body of four hundred ninth grade students on stroke. The first week was a summation of stroke and what causes stroke, the second week was an interactive session where the students performed activities that would make them relate to stroke and understand it, and the third week consisted of video testimony of stroke survivors.

The program received and overwhelmingly positive response and the body of four hundred students are now well versed in stroke signs and symptoms, what leads to them, and how to prevent them. The SMART Program will be returning to Anaheim in March and April with the groundwork already laid out for sessions to continue during the next school year.

Long Beach Wellness Center

lbmhc-3641506The Long Beach Wellness Center, with a stated goal of helping individuals reconnect with their own natural ability to heal, reduce stress, and promote a healthier sustainable lifestyle has now teamed with the RTH Stroke Foundation to better achieve this objective.

In addition to the current programs the Long Beach Wellness Center offers, such as yoga, aquatics, healthy eating, etc, the Long Beach Wellness Center will now offer a regular Stroke Support Group in partnership with the RTH Stroke Foundation.

This group convenes on the 3rd Thursday of every month and specializes in Brain Injury support.

To enroll please visit the link below.

Transitional Rehabilitation Services (Outpatient)

Stroke seminar credited with saving two lives

Hundreds receive no-cost health screenings; more scheduled later this year.

WRITTEN BY :   Greg Waskul, Contributor

DOWNEY – Two lives were saved and many other individuals with life-threatening high blood pressure were identified at the first local Primary Stroke Prevention Seminar of the year, which drew an overflow crowd of 300 people to the Rio Hondo Event Center Wednesday.

The centerpiece of the seminar was a compelling, powerful and yet easy-to-understand 45-minute presentation by RTH Stroke Foundation President and noted stroke educator Deborah Massaglia that was meant to inspire the audience to strike out stroke in their lives. Following her presentation, attendees were provided with free carotid artery and blood pressure screenings.

“We gave 290 carotid artery screenings and more than 250 blood pressure screenings,” said RTH Stroke Foundation Executive Director Guy Navarro. “Two individuals were detected with a significant narrowing of their carotid arteries, and dozens of individuals with detected with high blood pressure exceeding 140/90. We will follow up with all these people to help them get the treatment they need to help prevent a stroke.”

In a doctor’s office, the free screenings provided at Wednesday’s seminar would cost nearly $150,000.

The event was sponsored by the RTH Stroke Foundation, Rio Hondo Event Center, The Downey Patriot, Keck Medical Center of USC and the Rancho Research Institute. In addition, PIH Health provided assistance with the blood pressure screenings at the event.

This Downey seminar series, which leading stroke experts have called the most successful primary stroke prevention initiative ever undertaken in the United States, got off to a flying start for the new year with Deborah’s presentation, which provided so much valuable information that it couldn’t be contained in a single article.

As a service to our readers, and in recognition of the many lives that have already been saved and the hundreds of local residents who have learned they have life-threatening high blood pressure from these seminars, we will cover Deborah’s information-packed presentation with stories this week and next week. We hope our readers take these messages to heart because people can prevent most strokes simply by changing their lifestyle.

Deborah presented her message Wednesday clad in a Keck Medical Center of USC doctor’s lab coat, which in itself was a powerful sign of the importance of what was to come. The RTH Stroke Foundation funds the Roxanna Todd Hodges stroke clinic at Keck, named for the foundation’s caring and compassionate founder who herself was felled by a series of major strokes.

Deborah began her talk by acknowledging how people found out about the stroke seminar. “Most of you are here today because of The Downey Patriot,” she said. “Whenever there’s a story in the paper, our phones ring off the hook. We’re grateful that these articles get you in here to learn about how you can prevent stroke.”

She added that she was also grateful to Mark Shelton, who runs the Rio Hondo Event Center. “Mark gives us the room, the refreshments and the audio-visual for these seminars free of charge. He sets up and breaks down everything for us. And we couldn’t do it without his generosity, his partnership and his extraordinary sense of public service that is a testimonial to the heart of this great city.

“We try our hardest to help people prevent strokes in their lives, because it was the mission of our founder Roxanna Todd Hodges and it is our mission to eradicate stroke,” Deborah said. “Today most of the people that are in nursing homes and convalescent homes today are there because of stroke. It continues to be the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

“And yet, we also know that we can change the world of stroke. Working with Keck USC, we are making changes for the better, and we are seeing the effects of our efforts each and every day.
“For example, 2013 was a great year for us,” she said. “We wanted to do 50 seminars and we did 53. We wanted to educate 3,000 people about stroke at our seminars and we educated over 3,300 people. We wanted to screen 2,000 people and we screened over 2,400. We really got the word out about stroke.

“There are 800,000 new cases of stroke each year in the United States, and that number continues to grow,” Deborah said. “When I started doing this nearly 20 years ago, the number was 600,000 new cases a year, so the bottom line is that stroke has grown by a third in the past two decades.”

She reported that stroke is now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. “It used to be the third leading cause of death, but interventional medicine has improved over the years,” Deborah said. “We can now keep you alive longer after a stroke. With the therapy that’s out there today, more people are leading more meaningful lives after stroke, although unfortunately, 90 percent of people who have strokes end up with a permanent disability.”

She said that as the numbers of strokes increase, so does the cost of treating stroke. Today, $57 billion is spent per year to treat stroke in the United States.

She said one of the most important things people need to understand is the warning signs of stroke. “The key to each of the warning signs of stroke is the word ‘sudden’, because a stroke always comes on you suddenly,” Deborah said. She then explained the five key warning signs of stroke, which include:

Sudden weakness in the face, arm, leg. “You need to know that just one side of your body will be affected,” she said. “If you go to raise your arm and all of a sudden that arm is very heavy or you can’t get it to move at all, this is a sign of stroke. It may feel like it’s asleep, it may be tingly. The same thing is true with your leg.

“For example, if you are walking and you go to take a step and one leg works and the other does not, that is a definite sign of a stroke,” she said. “This should not be confused with when you lay on your leg or your arm and it falls asleep. It’s a sign of stroke when one side of your body experiences sudden weakness or numbness. Or if one side of the face droops, it’s also a sign of a stroke.”

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding: “If you are sitting and you are understanding everything I’m saying to you right now, and all of a sudden what I say to you makes no sense at all, that is a sign of a stroke,” Deborah said. “Also, you may be able to understand everything I say to you, but you may go to tell someone something and the words do not come out of your mouth correctly. One test is to see if someone can say or understand the phrase ‘Is the sky blue?’ If they can’t understand it or say it, that is a sign of a stroke.”

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes: “This should not be confused with any chronic vision problems because this is a sudden change in your vision,” she said. “It could be wavy lines, it could be spots before your eyes, or it could be that you can’t see out of one or both of your eyes.”

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, sudden loss of balance or coordination: “If you are walking as if you are drunk and you know you haven’t had anything to drink, or you see someone you’re with that is walking like that, that is a sure sign of stroke,” she said.

Sudden severe headache with no known cause: “This is the hemorrhagic stroke,” Deborah said. “This is no ordinary headache-it is like someone has taken your head and hit it hard against a wall. You feel tremendous pain and you feel it suddenly, not gradually like a tension headache coming on. Bleeding inside your brain causes this to happen.”

“These are the five warning signs,” she said. “If you are having a stroke, you will have one of these symptoms. And if someone you are with has one of these warning signs, you must get help immediately by calling 9-1-1 and saying that you or someone you are observing appears to be having a stroke. With stroke, every minute counts, and swift action can often make the difference between life and death.”

Next week: risk factors for stroke and how you can change your life to help prevent a stroke.

Foundation donates $6 million for stroke clinic

From Keck School of Medicine of USC, Wednesday, May 16, 2012 

The Roxanna Todd Hodges Foundation, which is dedicated to preventing stroke, made a $6 million gift to establish the Roxanna Todd Hodges Comprehensive Stroke Clinic and the Roxanna Todd Hodges Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) Program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“This is an extraordinary gift,” said Keck School of Medicine of USC Dean Carmen A. Puliafito. “The best strategy against it is prevention. I will do whatever I can to make these programs successful and ones that the Roxanna Todd Hodges Foundation can be very proud of.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Last Call – Golf Tournament Sponsors!

Rth Stroke Foundation and Hope After Stroke Foundation will be hosting a Golf Tournament at the Rio Hondo Golf Course in Downey on Friday, July 21, 2017. See Sponsorship opportunities below and become a sponsor by calling in or paying through Paypal.

Join us July 27, 2017 for a Tournament of Golf at the Rio Hondo Golf Club in July. Proceeds benefit the Diane Manarino Memorial Fund.

To become a sponsor, please contact our offices and ask for Veda at: (888) 794 9466.


See sponsorship opportunities below and make a payment via the Paypal link in the level of sponsorship you would like.

$2,000.00: Tournament Sponsor: Includes 2 Teams, Lunch, and Tournament Signage.

$1,000.00: Gold Sponsor: Includes 2 Teams, 2 T-Signs, and Check-in Signage.

$425.00: Business Sponsor: 1 Team and 2 T-Signs.

$500.00: Hole In One Sponsor: 1 Team and 2 T-Signs.

$150.00: Putting Contest Sponsor: Putting Contest Signage.

$150.00: 3 T-Signs.

$100.00: 2 T-Signs


***As of 8/15/17 – all seminar registration will be held through our new website: Please follow the link and register there or call us at (888)-794-9466 to register.***

Experts say that fully 80% of all strokes are preventable. The key to prevention is knowledge. At our seminars, you can learn what the risk factors are for stroke and also learn what you can do to mitigate such factors in your own life. At our screenings, run by medical specialists who are well versed on stroke prevention and treatment. You can find out what your numbers are in several critical areas: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and more.

Check our calendar to find the date, time and location of an event you can attend. Then fill out the online registration form. Admission and parking are always free at RTH events.

Enroll today. What you learn may well save your life.


All screenings performed by RTH Stroke Foundation and: