Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp receives RAISE Award

Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013, 11:01 am
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Press release submitted by Christine Shay

Moline, IL – October 29, 2013 — The National Stroke Association announced that Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp (RRSC), received the Outstanding Group Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Award, on Friday, October 25, 2013. They were selected out of more than 200 nominees.

The RAISE Outstanding Group award honors a group of people making a commitment to raising stroke awareness on a local or national level. Executive Director Marylee Nunley, and her husband John, started Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp in 2004 in Peoria, Illinois, three years after John's stroke in 2001. Through the encouragement of Larry Schaer, Associate Director, Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp became a non-profit in 2007 and created a national network of camps. In nine years, they have grown from one camp that first year to the completion of the 85th camp to end the 2013 season.

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp brings this special event to local stroke survivors and their caregivers from the Quad Cities area at a yearly Stroke Camp at Camp Menno Haven in Tiskilwa, IL. This year the camp was held August 23-25, 2013— it is the camp's 4th year. In 2013, the camp was sponsored by the Trinity Health Foundation.

"After John's stroke, I felt like we were so isolated and that, more than anything else, we needed the healing that socialization and ongoing support from other stroke survivors could bring," said Nunley. "Since there was nothing available like that, we created it. I am so honored to receive the RAISE Outstanding Group Award, and very moved to have been nominated by more than one person. However, this is a group award, and the recognition should go to our stroke survivors, their caregivers, our volunteers, and our sponsors. I never dreamed when I started the Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camps that knowing these inspiring people would make such a personal difference in my life.

"Together we all make stroke camp a reality for so many stroke survivors. This group of wonderful volunteers from the Quad Cities and our sponsor, Trinity Health Foundation are what keeps us going, helping us expand our camps and still continuing to make each one a wonderful experience that touches hearts and creates a difference in the lives of all our stoke survivors and attendees.

A stroke can change your life instantaneously. Approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the Unites States. More than 145,000 of those don't survive. For some – who make it to the hospital quickly, there are treatments that can reduce the chance for significant disabilities and the stroke might be just a small bump in the road. For the rest of the 650,000 people who become stroke survivors every year, it is a life-changing experience resulting in a range of disability, from slight to debilitating. Indeed, stroke is the number one cause of disability in the US.

Imagine that you are one of these two-thirds-of-a-million-people, you've had a stroke and your life has changed overnight. Once you leave the hospital and complete rehabilitation services, who do you turn to? Who can help you discover what is still possible? Who can encourage you to try new things, make new friends, and travel the life-long road to recovery?

For some fortunate stroke survivors, and their caregivers and families, their lives, their friendships and how they perceive themselves are transformed when they attend a Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp. Here they begin to build bonds with other stroke survivors, enjoy activities they feared were lost to them and participate in an experience both heart-warming and life affirming.

The survivors, their caregivers, and families stay in comfortable accommodations, but still enjoy out-of-doors experiences and many aspects of camping out of their normal range of activities. The families and caregivers have respite from the constant pressure of caring for another person. They are pampered and are able to share stories and experience the insight of other caregivers — who truly understand what their lives are like. The cost of camp is kept reasonable through fundraising and the generous support of sponsors.
The weekend retreat is filled with many activities or the opportunity to relax if that's what is needed. The weekend includes: educational sessions, resources, pampering, friendships, good food, hiking/walking, discussion groups, drum circles, informal chat with experts, Wii, entertainment, music, games, relaxation, and more! Outdoor activities are organized whenever possible, and may include fishing, boating, rock climbing, and swimming.

About Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp and Strike Out Stroke™
Since 2007, Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp, a 501 (c) (3), has been creating a national network of camps for stroke survivors and caregivers. Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp conducts public awareness programs and stroke education programs. RRSC has initiated a national stroke awareness effort through major and minor league baseball called Strike Out Stroke™.

In 2013, 13 major and dozens of minor league baseball events featured Strike Out Stroke™. Plans are in place to significantly increase this number in 2014. In 2011, Strike Out Stroke™ baseball events were added as a way to raise public awareness for the symptoms of stroke and urgency of need for quick response when stroke is suspected.

Most recently, RRSC introduced a new DVD, "You've Had a Stroke, Now What?" which brings the best practices and lessons learned by stroke survivors, their families and caregivers together in 15 categories of motivational, insightful tips and suggestions. From the practical to the moving to the amusing, this DVD provides a window into life after stroke. The "new normal."

You can find out more information about RRSC at or call 866-688-5450.

About National Stroke Association
National Stroke Association is the only national organization in the U.S. that focuses 100 percent of its efforts on stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke. Its mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke. More information about National Stroke Association can be found at


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