An Incomplete Patch Work of Stroke Services – Young Stroke Retreat Speaking

Bob with Amy Edmunds at Young Stroke Retreat

Bob with Amy Edmunds at Young Stroke Retreat

Speaking at the Young Stroke Retreat in North Carolina and having dinner with the Young Stroke Foundation Founder last week brought me further evidence of the uneven patch of stroke resources that exist across our nation. Most of my recent personal experience has been in SW Florida where two Comprehensive Stroke Centers exist thirty miles apart which is supplemented by several Primary Centers in the area. Complementing that, EMS has a robust protocol and in some cases utilizes telemedicine to speed diagnoses before hospital entry.

That is not the case across the nation. In South Carolina, the state with the highest percentage incidence of stroke and where most of the Retreat participants reside surprisingly has less clarity about Stroke Centers particularly in rural areas of which there are many. Also, the EMS protocols are not as clear as they are in Florida. In neighboring state North Carolina where the Young Stroke organization is headquartered, there are several comprehensive centers and the EMS protocol is stronger.

All of this reminds me of my book’s (Stroke Victor) advice that we all should have a “Stroke Plan” which entails knowing before the fact where the closest stroke center is located. We should also know the signs of stroke so that EMS is called promptly. Time is brain!

At the retreat it was mentioned that in South Carolina 54% of strokes were in people under the age of 65, a high for the nation. Obesity and poor fitness of the population were identified as important factors of this deplorable statistic.

I spoke about my Foundation – Stroke Recovery Foundation and its mission of improving post stroke lifestyles and maximizing stroke outcomes. The group was highly supportive understanding that there is a need for more therapy resources, particularly in S Carolina.

Several of the other presentations were educational in nature, there was a report on a research study in progress at the University of S Carolina and several survivors told their stories of recovery. A lack of consistent services was a constant thread of the presentations.

Advocacy was a big topic as it is lacking in the field of stroke.

A Healthy Salad for a Labor Day Cookout

Late Summer Flowers

Late Summer Flowers

With Labor Day on the horizon the end of summer is near! For those of us in SW Florida the end of hot humid summer means it’s more likely that we will eat outside, go to the beach or have a cookout. Years ago I developed recipes that are at once heart healthy, tasty and outside friendly. The latter means no mayonnaise to go bad in the heat.

For those of us who either have had a stroke or heart attack, or don’t want them, this recipe works because it is low in fat and salt.

I’ll share this one which goes well with barbequed foods or as a standalone as a compliment with other salads.

Preparation time is 20 – 30 minutes maximum.



Bob’s Pasta Salad

2 lbs Barilla Rotelle – #75
½ good sized chopped red onion
½ each – good sized yellow and green pepper – chopped
12–14oz chopped sun dried tomatoes bottled in oil – get in Costco or most decent supermarkets
2 6 oz cans sliced black olives – drained
12 oz green olives with pimentos – chopped or whole as you like
1/3 cup juice from green olives jar


1 cup dark balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6-8 tsp mild honey mustard
1-1½ tsp oregano
½ -1 tsp basil
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp cayenne pepper – If you like spicy food then add more of this
2-3 tsp crushed bottled garlic
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste – I use no salt. Fresh ground pepper is best.

Optional – Add some halved cherry tomatoes to recipe

Boil pasta to slightly al dente. Thoroughly drain and toss in large bowl with juice from olives to prevent pasta from sticking. Throw in all above solid ingredients.

For dressing, in glass mixing bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Thoroughly wisk spices in juices and then let sit for a few minutes so that flavors combine. Re-wisk and then combine with pasta and vegetables. Mix and chill for a few hours.

Bring to room temperature and serve. Salad should be made at least 4-6 hours before serving, a day ahead is preferable. If you are hosting the party this cuts down your last minute panic.

If salad is made day or 2 ahead of time and it needs a bit more liquid before serving, use a bit of Wishbone Zesty Italian dressing, shaking vigorously before pouring.

Note: Spice amounts are approximations since I don’t measure. I may have used more oregano, basil etc. Also, you may like it more or less spicy. And remember, I add no salt although some of the ingredients do contain salt.

Leftovers will easily stay for several days in refrigerator.

If the group is smaller cut the ingredients in ½.


No Good Startup Names Left – Want To Bet?

Bob Mandell Speaks at Cape Coral Rotary Club

Bob speaks at Cape Coral Rotary Club

When I started thinking about forming a non-profit in the stroke area in December 2014, just a few short months ago, one of the first things that I did was to think about obtaining a good name. As a prudent entrepreneur, what do I mean by a good name? I like names that say what our focus is or what we actually do! I don’t have millions of dollars to create a brand from a name that in itself is meaningless.

The current issue of august Forbes Magazine (9/7/15) has an article entitled – No Good Startup Names Left. Let me quote them:

“In mid-August Google announced it was reorganizing itself under an umbrella company to be called Alphabet. Pardon us for asking, but are world-beating multinationals now outsourcing their name selection to first-graders?
They aren’t actually- the problem it seems, is that all of the good names are already taken. And if Google can’t come up with a decent – or at least meaningful – name for itself, what hope does the average startup have? The unfortunate result: a spate of mealy mouthed mash-ups with no relevance to what the company does…”

While I would normally agree with the Forbes writer, he or she left out one very important factor in the availability of good names – DOES ANYONE CARE ABOUT A PARTICULAR FIELD OR SEGMENT, IS ANYONE LOOKING, IS THE PRODUCT, SERVICE, OR MISSION ON SOMEONE’S RADAR? If so, the names are gone!

So let’s go back to my name finding efforts a few months ago. After thinking about what my non-profit’s mission was going to be I went to my trusty domain seller – and started to put names in to the search engine. Low and behold, nearly every “good” or descriptive name was available. I was stunned. How could these not have been taken years ago as the Forbes article suggests?

How could it be – a disease that is the number five killer and number one long term disabling disease which strikes over 800,000 Americans a year, and millions, yes millions more globally? How was it possible that the good names were available? Because it seems that few people seem to care! Of course there are hard working professionals in the stroke field and there is obviously research ongoing. But I learned while researching my book, Stroke Victor, How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor that the whole field of stroke was seriously underserved in terms of advocacy, outreach and research, among other things.

So I bought a bunch of descriptive and meaningful names six or seven months ago and more since. Just a few, The Stroke Research Foundation (the name I chose), The Stroke Recovery Foundation, and Stroke Recovery Fund and believe me, it goes on. With and without the “The”!

So to this blog post’s original title – NO GOOD STARTUP NAMES LEFT! — WANT TO BET?



The Stroke Research Foundation intends to make a difference in the after stroke lifestyles and outcomes for millions of American’s, including many in SW Florida where I live! Stroke survivors, stroke caregivers and everyone else involved with stroke!!


The Shoes on the Other Foot

scooter1Thinking back while writing my book, Stroke Victor I realized that Debbie was an excellent caregiver. That doesn’t mean that she did everything for me. Actually, in my view that is not a good caregiver. The survivor must strive for independence to be a Victor and that means that they must learn, or relearn to do things for themselves. This is true for stroke in men and stroke in woman. Find another way if the original approach is not doable after stroke. The caregiver can certainly give close support and perhaps finish a task if at a particular stage the survivor just can’t do the task. But only after a really good “college try”! And the survivor should understand that the next time they try that task they should try to extend their gains with the objective of ultimately finding a way. I can’t tell you how many times I did that while recovering from my stroke.

Last Friday Debbie had some fairly complicated foot surgery. In 1995 a surgeon in New York while removing a bunion had taken too much bone. Over the years and more recently her large toe had shifted significantly allowing the next two toes to likewise shift. She had gotten to the point that she could not wear any shoes without serious pain and had to rely on flip flops. To a large measure you can get away with flip flops in South Florida but that leaves everywhere else at risk and we do travel and also go out where flip flops would be inappropriate. So the surgery!

Coming home from the surgery she could not walk on the damaged foot. We had purchased a rolling scooter so she could get around. This type of equipment allows the injured party to place their injured leg on a seat taking the weight off of the foot. However our roles had suddenly changed with me providing many more services than at any time since the stroke. I am putting the scooter in the car boot and having to serve food etc. You know the drill.

I was making mistakes that I was saying were wrong for a successful caregiver. “Let me do it” has recently been the operative phrase. “I can do it faster” even in my disabled state. But Debbie is always trying to do things herself hopping around on one foot and actively using the scooter. Fortunately her superb fitness in this situation is a substantial advantage so; I am learning to let her do her thing as she let me in the past. Anyway, I have a whole new perspective

In the book, I said a “toast” to all the caregivers but now I see the role from a completely different perspective. I should have said, a double toast!