Stroke fundraiser planned

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An upcoming fundraiser being organized by the Health and Business Alliance (HBA) Foundation will benefit the foundation and Healing On Positive Energy (HOPE) for Stroke, which aids stroke victims, their families and caregivers.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is “the number three cause of death, and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.” Strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked.

For stroke survivor Helga Schemitsch, a resident of Glendale, there were no signs of it. She was in the bathroom at her home, fell and was unable to get up. Family found her there 20 minutes later. Schemitsch was taken to the hospital and was diagnosed as having a stroke.

Whitestone resident Patricia Bayer was home after a birthday dinner with a friend on August 19, 2002. Her daughter, a nursing student at the time, would later tell Bayer that, while in bed, she sat up and her eyes rolled into the back of her head. Bayer was in a coma for 10 days and had to stay in the hospital for five months.

The stroke left Bayer paralyzed on her left side, and she is still partially paralyzed. She had to learn how to walk and talk again. She said she got depressed and even had thoughts of suicide, but it was the thought of staying alive for her daughter that kept her going.

Bayer said that it is important for stroke victims to “just hang in there.”

“You have to learn how to work with your mind and you have to be strong and you will do it,” she said. “Keep pushing yourself.”

HOPE for Stroke, which was founded by stroke survivors, was created to assist other survivors. Part of its mission is “to continue to assist other survivors in the maintenance of emotional and spiritual strength during recovery and of self, as well as to continue to provide selfless support and knowledge to all caregivers and loved ones.” The organization also seeks to raise awareness about stroke.

One of HOPE for Stroke’s founders is a former patient of Judy Cavallo, a licensed speech pathologist and HBA board member. After recently running into him and seeing how well he had recovered, she said she felt inspired, which is how the idea for the fundraiser came about. Half of the money raised will go to HOPE for Stroke while the other half will go towards the HBA Foundation.

“A Taste of Wine and Chocolate” will be held on Thursday, May 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Atria on Roslyn Harbor, located at 100 Landing Road in Roslyn, to raise funds for HOPE for Stroke. After a cocktail hour, a chocolate sommelier will guide a wine and chocolate tasting. There will also be entertainment courtesy FiveStone.

“It’s not your typical event,” Cavallo said. “I think it will be a very exciting night and I’m looking forward to having good attendance there.”

Tickets are $65. Checks can be made payable to HBA Foundation and mailed to the attention of Shannon Boyle, New Ground, Inc., 211 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead, NY 11550.

The HBA Foundation was created by members of the professional association Health and Business Alliance, Inc., which includes individuals from the business, health care and not-for-profit fields. The foundation helps coordinate charitable activities and meet the needs of the community.

For more information about the event, including donations, raffles and sponsorships, contact Cavallo at 516-382-8761 or

To find out more about HOPE for Stroke, visit