Meet Kathy and Scott Smith
Kathy Smith is a retired educator from Sykesville, Maryland. She spent the last 11 years of her teaching career working with special needs children. She, along with her husband Scott, relocated to the Tampa Bay area to enjoy their retirement and time with friends and family on or near the beach. They have been married for 37 years.
In January of 2018, at the age of 56, Kathy suffered a massive stroke. She was in a coma for several days, then in and out of a comatose state for nearly a month. Her doctors were not sure that she would survive. She spent two and a half months in a rehabilitation facility before coming home to her husband, Scott. They struggled with the need for 24-hour care and the need for greater support and understanding. “We went from having a great network of friends and an active life to staring at four walls, not knowing where to turn”, says Scott.
When Kathy first came to Voices of Hope for Aphasia, she had a 10-word vocabulary and struggled to communicate. Now her language has improved, she is far more expressive and is an active member of our conversation group. Kathy and Scott can communicate so much better as a couple and Scott is able to further understand what Kathy needs and how best to help her.
“When Kathy left the hospital for rehab, I feared it was a death sentence for her. After our first day at Voices of Hope, I knew my first instinct was wrong,” said Scott. “The other members of Voices of Hope have encouraged and motivated Kathy to work harder in speech and physical therapy. It is exciting, not just for Kathy, but for me”. Scott has found help and some of the tools needed to better care for Kathy in the caregiver’s support group. “This group has gotten us this far and I know it will only grow and help make our life better”.
Kaley is 25 years old. She is living with the loss of her speech due to an unknown degenerative condition. This letter captures what Voices of Hope for Aphasia means to her, and to many of our other members.
You asked today why we come to VOH and what it does for us. Here is why I do and what it does for me. I got sick in September of 2004 one month before my 14th birthday. I’ve seen over 65 doctors and had every test known to man performed. Being sick at such a young age was very difficult. Kids weren’t always the nicest. Same with strangers: some would point, laugh, mock, stare and make jokes about me. My mom saw your car magnet on someone’s car and stopped them. That is how we found you. I’m very glad she did. My mom found Voices of Hope at a point where I had given up hope that anyone would understand me and what I was going through or that I’d have friends.
Voices of Hope for Aphasia gave me hope again. It gave me great friends. It’s given me a safe place to be myself and a place where I’m not judged based on how well I can talk or walk or write.
For more information, reach out to us today firstname.lastname@example.org 727-249-1953.