Born and bred a sports fan, Debi is an athlete through and through. She was a cheerleader from grade school through college and continued to look for ways to stay competitive, supporting her Kentucky Wildcats and walking 5 miles a day. When she turned 40 Debi decided to finally learn to play one of her favorite sports, tennis, and immediately became addicted playing 3-4 hours a day. All this healthy living and active lifestyle left Debi surprised and confused when she had a stroke at 56.
In 2015, Debi began having spots in her vision which led her to an ophthalmologist, thinking this may be from the years of playing tennis in the hot Texas sun. Her doctor performed a retinal test and set up an appointment with a physician afterwards, as he thought there may unfortunately be a deeper issue. Through more checkups and exams, Debi was connected to a cardiologist where they admitted her to the hospital due to a 90% blockage of her artery. They scheduled an endarterectomy and removed the blockage, but 4 days later readmitted her for major brain bleed resulting in a craniotomy, tracheotomy, and the loss of use in her left side.
This all came as a huge surprise for Debi since she thought she should have felt bad or had any telling signs of something like this coming on. Loosing all function of her left side, she had little hope of recovery or regaining any kind of a functional life, but her stubbornness prevented her from not doing anything about it. Debi took her in-patient rehab very seriously and after six weeks, walked out of the hospital. Six months later she completed and tested exceptionally well on her neuro-phych exam, and was certified to drive again.
Debi continues to push herself and after learning about ATF and seeing so many athletes overcome their own obstacles, she enrolled in the ReDefine program and believes she can work to gain functional use of her left arm. Not only is she improving on a daily basis but she is reclaiming her identity as an athlete by going rock climbing, paddle boarding, horse back riding, and soon learning how to surf. Tennis is up next!