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Congratulations to Maggie Youel

North Central College names award after stroke survivor

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014

In April 2012, during her sophomore year at North Central College, Crystal Lake High School graduate Maggie Youel suffered a sudden stroke that significantly affected the left half of her brain. She was taken to Edward Hospital in suburban Naperville where she spent more than a week under sedation before she recovered consciousness and began her recovery. One month after the stroke, she began therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) where I was privileged to meet her while also recovering from my stroke.

This weekend, North Central College established The Margaret Youel Award to honor Maggie’s perseverance, tenacity and unwillingness to give up in the face of difficult circumstances. The award will be given annually to a student in the graduating class who best exemplifies these characteristics.

As a stroke survivor, I know firsthand that life is very precious and things can change very quickly. What I learned from my stroke recovery was the advantage of positive thinking, tenacity and step-by-step dedication. Maggie embodies these characteristics. To have this award named in her honor is very fitting because she is such a strong, positive spirit who inspired me and all of the stroke survivors in rehab with us every day.

I was very fortunate to have this young fashionista at RIC to lift my spirits. Stories like Maggie’s are why I remain committed to advocating for strong NIH research investments and access to rehabilitation for the benefit of all Americans. Every American deserves a chance to regain independence. Maggie is a shining example of what can be accomplished through rehabilitation and perseverance.

Congratulations to Maggie and the 2014 graduates of North Central College! For more information on my work on behalf of stroke survivors, please visit my Stroke Agenda.

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