At the age of 37, successful at her job and physically active, Karen Dionne's life was changed in an instant. With no known risk factors, she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke causing paralysis on her left side and taking her lower left quadrant of vision. She found herself with no fine motor skills and having to learn to walk again.
With hard work, determination, and unconditional love from her husband, she was able to walk again and more. "I still cannot feel the left side of my body, but I don't limit myself," Karen says.
She has competed in several races, and while taking on these challenges is not easy, she credits her time at the YMCA, where she can be found several hours a day, to helping her to stay physically fit. The encouragement she receives from the staff and the classes she takes here help her to accomplish her goals.
?Most of us let the fear of not succeeding at something hold us back from trying. Keep pushing yourself to the next finish line. There?s no end to our potential,? Karen says.
Karen doesn?t just push herself physically, she is committed to paying it forward. She runs an online support group for young adult stroke survivors and was awarded the Go Red For Women Ambassador of the Year in 2012 with the American Heart Association. As Mrs. Pierce County International 2013, she encourages others every day and recently competed in Mrs. Washington International where she won the Audience Choice Award. Congratulations Karen and thank you for sharing your success with us at the YMCA.