American Heart Association
Dallas, TX – A few years before starting the “Muppets” comic strip for Jim Henson, and long before becoming lead artist of “Nancy,” Guy Gilchrist had a stroke.
On Saturday, World Stroke Day, the cartoonist is teaming up with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to bring awareness to the disease that changed the course of his life and career.
Gilchrist credits the minor event in his youth for motivating him to give up his unhealthy, stress-filled “rock-n-roll lifestyle” and go all-in on his craft.
A second medical event – perhaps another minor stroke – in his 40s served as a powerful reminder, snapping him back into a healthy lifestyle that he now maintains at age 59.
Gilchrist’s daily strip for October 29th featured the timeless 8-year-old is a nod to his personal stroke connection and educates readers on the world’s second-leading cause of death, which is now largely treatable.
“Decades ago there were no treatments for stroke. Now we have therapies that may interrupt even the most severe and disabling stroke if we can get to it in time,” said Alexander Khalessi, M.D., director of neurovascular surgery at the University of California, San Diego and national spokesperson for the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative.
The American Stroke Association’s public awareness campaign and Gilchrist’s October 29th strip focus on stroke symptom recognition because the sooner care is given, the better the chances for recovery.
The two highlight the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people to remember the most common stroke warning signs and how to respond: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.
Thanks to syndication by Universal Uclick, Gilchrist’s World Stroke Day art and message will reach funny page readers of more than 100 newspapers nationwide.
“I was happy to see that the October 29th ‘Nancy’ comic strip mentions stroke awareness, which is an issue that doesn’t always get a lot of attention,” said Lucas Wetzel, associate editor at Universal Uclick. “Getting the right information about how to respond to a stroke can make a critical difference in someone’s life. We’re thrilled that Guy is using ‘Nancy’ as a platform to encourage greater stroke awareness to thousands of newspaper readers across the country.”
While he’ll never know if his minor stroke at age 21 could have been avoided, Gilchrist believes strongly in the powers of purpose and prevention.
“No matter what you do, God has given you talents,” Gilchrist said. “If we take care of ourselves, we’ll have a lot of tomorrows and get to use those gifts. The only way the world gets to be a better place is if you’re in it.”
For more information about stroke, including an entire list of the warning signs, visit www.StrokeAssociation.org.
- AHA/ASA CEO Profile on Guy Gilchrist (available for reprint in part or whole. Contact Jayme Sandberg for permission and byline)
About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association was created in 1997 as a division of the American Heart Association.