Episode 066 — 2018 AHA Outstanding Caregiver Charlene Hayward

It was the best thing in the world that we did to get to a place where they offered therapy all the time. -- Charlene Hayward #Stroke #Caregiver Click To Tweet


When Steve had a massive stroke out in the wilds of Colorado, his determination to survive got him to the point where he could get help. Charlene, his wife and now caregiver demonstrated the same work ethic and fortitude in the weeks and months following his stroke.

Stroke spouses, partners, and caregivers are amazing, and this is Charlene’s story.


Charlene Hayward portraitCharlene Hayward is a native of Colorado, a mountainous region in the middle of the US.

Growing up, her family did lots of outdoor activities: camping, hiking, water skiing, and snowmobiling to name a few.

Charlene and Steve got married at her parents’ cabin in Grand Lake, Colorado, and have stayed true to their “mountain roots”. They love the mountains and will be moving there full time in just a short while.

They have two amazing daughters that are at the center of their lives. Last January Charlene and Steve became the proud grandparents of a little boy and are over the moon seeing pictures and videos of him weekly!

For the most part, Charlene enjoys the weather in Colorado and loves being outside. She likes to read, go for walks, and visit with old friends. She is a swimming and diving official in the summer, and for high school, college, and masters levels as well. It is truly her passion!

That's what life was for us. We just worked all the time. -- Charlene Hayward #Stroke #Caregiver Click To Tweet


In 2018, Charlene received the Outstanding Caregiver of the year RAISE award from the American Heart Association. They describe the program like this:

The Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards annually recognize individuals and groups from across the country for taking stroke awareness activities to new heights. Awards are given in several categories and recognize people engaged in community-level awareness activities directly supporting the National Stroke Association’s mission.

Here’s part of how they tell Charlene’s story:

Charlene’s story is so unique that a local television station featured her and Steve as part of a National Stroke Awareness Month feature. Her advice? Never give up and look for the blessings in disguise. Charlene is a strong, fierce and determined wife, mother and caregiver.

You can read more here.

Any person that the good Lord decides to put in that 24/7 365 caregiver mode -- every one of them deserve that award. -- Charlene Hayward #Stroke #Caregiver Click To Tweet

Stroke Life Hack

Motivational quotes can help with mindset. They can help with mindset, and they can help us break out of negative thought cycles. There are many things we can’t control in our lives and recoveries. So when we have the opportunity to give ourselves an edge for a while, let’s take it.

Here are the 3 quotes Charlene referenced.

From Derek Jeeter, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”

From John Lennon: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

And the one that guides her whole life is simply:
“Never give up!”

What quotes do you find inspiration from?

If we can just take one baby step a day, I'm fine. -- Charlene Hayward #Stroke #Caregiver Click To Tweet

Where do we go from here?

  • If you’d like to reach out to Charlene or congratulate her on her RAISE award from the American Heart Association, let us know in the comments below.
  • Share this episode with a caregiver you know by giving them the link
  • Subscribe to Strokecast in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don’t get best, get better
And that stroke support group is our other family. Everybody comes out of there feeling great because we met with our closest friends. -- Charlene Hayward #Stroke #Caregiver Click To Tweet

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

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