Stroke survivor spreads word

Davida Godett routinely speaks about stroke awareness to community-based organizations and churches. — ROBERT MENDELSOHN PHOTO

Davida Godett has made it her life’s mission to spread stroke awareness.

As a three-time stroke survivor, Godett felt that God let her live for a reason. While she had none of the risk factors, she suffered three strokes within the span of almost three years. The last one left her with neurological damage affecting her ability to continue her accounting career.

“Some people lose their ability to speak when they have a stroke, and I never lost that ability. I really felt like this is my purpose in life, to go around and speak about strokes and empower other individuals to let them know that just as easily as it has happened to me, it can happen to them,” said Godett, who was 30 when she experienced her first stroke.

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A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain is either blocked by a clot or it bursts. When a stroke occurs and blood is unable to reach the region that controls a particular body function, then that part of the body is adversely affected.

After years of speaking about to community organizations, churches and corporate groups about stroke awareness and the importance of taking charge of one’s health outcomes, Godett formed the Healthy Thoughts organization so she could give back in a humanitarian way. In 2010, Healthy Thoughts officially obtained its nonprofit status.

“I believe thoughts are extremely powerful, and with medicine and things of that nature, they can actually dictate your outcome. Even if it’s not a stroke, no matter what you are going through, your thoughts are extremely powerful to keep a positive attitude and to go on with life,” said Godett, who is now 36.

Now Godett is gearing up to hold the “Cut the Stroke Out of Your Life” event Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. at Headliners Barbershop, 9137 Roosevelt Blvd.

She wants to reach the men in the community, recognizing that it’s often hard to get them to visit a doctor’s office.

During the event, men will receive haircuts, stroke assessments and stroke awareness literature. Proceeds from $8 haircuts will be donated to Healthy Thoughts and used to support stroke survivors and their families.

Healthy Thoughts offers various programs such as Chauncey’s Choice, an initiative that educates youths 5–12 years old about the warning signs of a stroke and how to respond when one occurs. The program is named after Godett’s son Chauncey, who expressed a desire for other children to learn about the condition.

Last April, Chauncey’s Choice graduated its first class of 23 students from the Latino Alliance of Bucks County.

During the Christmas season, Healthy Thoughts offers a program titled Gianna’s Gift that assists stroke survivors and their families. Through Gianna’s Gift, participants provide gifts for a stroke survivor or family of a stroke survivor.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S.

Warning signs of stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination and sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Medical experts encourage individuals who are suffering from a stroke to obtain medical attention immediately. If administered three hours within onset of a stroke, a clot-busting drug known as tissue plasminogen activator can reduce long-term disability and save lives.

African Americans are at high risk of having a stroke. Risk factors for stroke include being overweight, having diabetes, having high cholesterol, having high blood pressure, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, physical inactivity, having sickle cell disease, carotid artery disease, advancing age and having suffered mini-strokes.

For information about the upcoming event call (215) 637-5815.

 

Contact Tribune staff wWriter Ayana Jones at (215) 893-5747 or AJones@phillytrib.com.

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