As a recognized leader in stroke awareness, Valerie has reached and motivated audiences around the world.
At age 31, Valerie was a healthy, vibrant businesswoman until a massive stroke paralyzed the left side of her body and left her unable to speak. Doctors told her that she might never walk or talk again, and most of her hearing was lost. Sheer determination and faith propelled her out of her wheelchair and into a new life, learning once more how to walk and communicate.
Now, a worldwide symbol of hope and advocate for stroke awareness, Valerie has become a beacon of light to millions.
Valerie is a passionate advocate; two-time published author, and a motivational speaker. She has appeared on CBS, NBC, ABC & FOX raising public awareness of stroke prevention & recovery while inspiring others that nothing is impossible.
With humor, passion, and insight, she touches hearts and encourages people in all walks of life to accept their challenges and to keep moving forward
Valerie has worked at the state and congressional level to support legislation that ensures that stroke victims will be properly accessed and transported to an appropriate stroke treatment facility. She was instrumental in helping to pass the Florida Stroke Act that Governor Jeb Bush signed into law on June 17, 2004.
She has received accolades from many venues including television programs, celebrities and dignitaries (such as Dr. Oz, Michael J. Fox, Kirk Douglas, and the Lieutenant Governor of Florida), and health authorities (including the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, National Stroke Association, and World Health Organization) who applaud her ongoing efforts to heighten awareness of stroke prevention and recovery and, ultimately, bring hope to others.
Among her efforts to raise awareness, Valerie miraculously walked 13.1 miles in the Walt Disney half marathon for the American Stroke Association and became the top fundraiser in the nation for the organization's 2004 Train to End Stroke program.
Valerie's work has been showcased in multiple publications, including Recipes for the Heart cookbook issued by the American Heart Association, Stroke Smart by the National Stroke Association, and she was deemed a “Stroke Hero" by the American Stroke Association.
On October 20, 2014, the Mayor of Orlando, Florida recognized Valerie and her organization for being the leader in stroke awareness for the Central Florida region and issued an official proclamation declaring observance of “World Stroke Day" on October 29 in the city of Orlando. Additionally, the Mayor of Orange County, Florida followed suit by declaring the observance.
Once unable to speak, Valerie continues to be saluted as a top motivational speaker.