Stroke Awareness

About Stroke Awareness Oregon

“I knew I felt funny but sure didn’t know I was having a stroke. So grateful one of my co-workers knew about F.A.S.T (Face, Arm, Speech and Time) and called 911.”
Stroke Survivor

Stroke Awareness Oregon — a nonprofit created by physicians, stroke patients and community members — exists to make a real difference. Stroke treatment and care is seeing advances but challenges still exist. A person hit by a stroke often transpires too late to fully benefit from new medical advances. People surviving a stroke and completing rehabilitation are returned to the community without clear direction, follow-up or support.

SAO’s goals are to:

  • Educate the community on how to recognize stroke, learn about presentation opportunities here
  • Make F.A.S.T. a household safety word
  • Develop resources and support for stroke patients and their families
  • Increase awareness about stroke prevention
  • Stroke Patient Survey

Our mission is fulfilled through volunteers and donations.

Board of Directors

Lawnae Hunter, Co-Founder, Board Treasurer

Lawnae Hunter holds both an Oregon Principal Broker’s License and a California Broker’s License. She is also Principal Broker/Owner of PLUS Property Management serving Central Oregon and California Central Coast. She has over thirty-five years of experience in general real estate brokerage including land development, commercial and industrial land sales, new home sales, property management and general resale. Lawnae was appointed by the Governor to the Oregon Real Estate Agency (OREA) in 2018 and serves as Vice-Chair. Ms. Hunter thrives in a dynamic and competitive sales environment with a strong understanding of the market and economic forces affecting Central Oregon and the state.

In 2014 Lawnae suffered a severe Stoke. After her stroke she began a rigorous rehabilitation program and committed to returning to a normal work and personal life. Public Service has always been an important part of her life. After the stroke she committed herself to prevention and stroke awareness. She is currently treasurer of Stroke Awareness Oregon, which she co-founded with Dr. Goins.

Dr Dennis Schaberg, MD (retired)

Dr Dennis Schaberg, MD (retired), Board President

Dr. Dennis Schaberg M.D. is a retired academic physician. As a trainee, he saw the enormous impact Medic One had; first on survival from heart attack, then in survival from trauma. No such impact was seen on stroke. Now progress has been such that new advances in stroke care can and do make a difference. Awareness of prevention aspects and now the critical need for prompt care is a project he supports in the strongest terms. Dr. Schaberg’s other interests include support for OSU-Cascades and recreational interests in both golf and fly fishing.

Katie Tank, Esq, Attorney at Law

Katie Tank, Esq, Attorney at Law, Board Secretary

For 30 years, Ms. Tank has successfully represented employers in labor and employment matters.  She was named Best Lawyers in America’s 2013 “Lawyer of the Year” Litigation – Labor and Employment® – Eugene Area, by US News/Best Lawyers.  Her law firm, Tank Law, PC, was named a 2014 Tier Two “Best Law Firm” by US News and Best Lawyers.  She has also been recognized as a Best Lawyers in America in Labor & Employment by US News/Best Lawyers, as an Oregon Super Lawyer by Law & Politics magazine in labor and employment law, a peer-elected distinction given to only the top 5% of all attorneys in Oregon.  Ms. Tank is President of the state-wide Oregon Employer Council and its local Central Oregon Chapter and past-president (two times!) of the Human Resource Association of Central Oregon.

Mary Burns, MS, CCC-SLP

Mary Burns, MS, CCC-SLP

Mary Burns, MS, CCC-SLP has been working as a medical Speech-Language Pathologist since 2014. She specializes in working with adults with swallowing or communication disorders, especially after a stroke.

Working across the continuum of care gave Mary a unique perspective on strengths and needs in the rehabilitation system. This developed her passion for advocacy of person-centered care and the inclusion of patient and community education as a part of the recovery process.

Mary was drawn to Stroke Awareness Oregon because of their dedication to breaking down barriers that allow stroke survivors and their loved ones to access the services they need.



Marc Beebe, Attorney at Law


Marc Beebe, Attorney at Law

Marc Beebe received his Bachelor’s Degree from Amherst College and was a Junior High teacher at a small private day school in Connecticut for three years. He then spent 7 years in the US Army Reserves while working on a law degree at the University of Denver College of Law. A believer in public service, he served as a VISTA volunteer with Idaho Legal Aid Services in Twin Falls, Idaho followed by serving as the managing attorney at Idaho Legal Aid Services in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Mr. Beebe entered private law practice at the Casco Legal Clinic in Portland, Maine where he served for 26 years before semi-retirement to Oregon in 2007. From 2010-2016, he practiced Bankruptcy Law in Bend. Mr. Beebe’s prior Board experience includes The Woodlands Club, Falmouth, Maine and Crooked River Ranch Homeowners Association in Oregon.



Deborah McMahon

Deborah McMahon has lived in Central Oregon for over 35 years.  She is a land use planner and consultant with DMC Consulting Services LLC; having worked for both the city of Redmond and the city of Bend.  Deborah holds a Master’s degree from Oregon State University, and holds licenses and certificates in Successful Permitting Strategies and GFOA – Capital Budgeting and Financing.  Deborah believes greater awareness and improved science surrounding the issue of stroke will help our community help each other.  Deborah McMahon is also a collector, adviser, and dealer of fine art.




Mindy Laidlaw, St. Charles, Intake and Acute Community Coordinator at St. Charles Medical Center

Mindy Laidlaw graduated from Pacific University in 1987 with her degree in Occupational Therapy. She completed her Acute Care internship at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, and knew this was where she wanted to start her career. She has now been with the organization for over 31 years. Most of her career has been practicing on the ortho/neuro floor. She then went on to supervise the Acute and Rehab therapy teams. Her teams were an inspiration to her because they had such a positive impact on patients and their families in the community. She is now the Intake and Post Acute Community Coordinator.

Mindy was drawn to Stroke Awareness Oregon because their mission was to educate everyone about the importance of FAST. She knew she wanted to be on this board because the team moved with intention.

Other interests include Cooking, gardening and spending time with her family and friends.


Kate Maguire PT, DPT

Kate is a physical therapist and owner of GroundWork Physical Therapy located in Bend, Oregon. She specializes in treating adults with neurological disorders, including stroke.

Kate completed her physical therapy doctorate in 2006 and is dedicated to providing collaborative, evidence-based neurological rehabilitation. Prior to her physical therapy career, Kate worked for a National Institute of Health funded epidemiological study seeking improvement to cancer rates in the Seattle area. The combination of her background in public health and passion for skilled neuro rehabilitation led Kate to join Stroke Awareness Oregon.



Passionate about both the science and art of nursing and healthcare delivery, James is striving to make a difference in how patients receive and participate in their care, and enhancing the voice of the nurse and the patient in the discussion of what healthcare will be like “tomorrow.”

A nurse, “by accident” according to his own words, James was recruited to St. Louis University as an EMT, after the untimely death of his younger sister, who suffered a stroke secondary to an undiagnosed heart condition at just 14 years old. Inspired by the compassion and care taken by the nursing teams who cared for not only her, but for him and the rest of his family, he sought to return such compassion and caring to both the patients and teams he’s had the pleasure to serve. At the bedside James specialized in trauma intensive care and emergency medicine, as a leader he has specialties in the development of neuroscience centers of excellence, opening and expanding new facilities, and improving the quality of care of provided by nursing in New York, St. Louis, Northern California, and now Central Oregon.

James is currently a Chief Nursing Officer within the St. Charles Health System, and is pursuing his Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Health Systems Executive Leadership through the University of Pittsburgh.


Josie Fitzsimons, MD

Dr. Fitzsimons graduated with high honors from the University of Notre Dame, and received her M.D. degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Upon completion of her Pediatric Residency at Lutheran General Children’s Medical Center, she undertook a second residency  in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Stanford University where she was elected chief resident. Dr. Fitzsimons served as the medical director for St. Charles Rehabilitation Center for 10 years. She currently serves as a board member of Stroke Awareness Oregon because she is passionate about stroke recovery and is committed to bringing cutting edge treatments to our stroke community.


Sarah Burke

As a critical care specialist, involved in building capable, well-oiled, and healing teams of doctors and nurses, Sarah Burke’s past life was all about taking care of people. A car accident resulted in a closed head injury that ended her medical career. Years later her doctor recommended an MRI of her head that revealed a number of past strokes that had gone undiagnosed for years. 

Rather than letting this bring her professional life to a stop, Sarah transitioned to bring the same focus, compassion, and attention to her clients as a real estate professional. Sarah’s energies are now directed towards helping people find their perfect home and make wise investments in commercial real estate, and she’s every bit as committed to their well being. 

Sarah was drawn to the Stroke Awareness Oregon Board of Directors because of the organization’s focused work to help individuals who have survived a stroke navigating through this new reality. She brings to the board her expertise of medical background and understanding of best practices.


Petar Hossick, Bend Fire & Rescue

Petar majored in biochemistry at the University of Oregon before transitioning into EMS to earn money for college. While studying EMS and working as a lifeguard, he responded to a drowning victim requiring CPR. That event solidified his focus on EMS and he has never looked back. Petar completed his EMS training, interned with Medic One, and began work  EMS in Sunriver in 1995. He has been with Bend Fire since 2000 and is the department’s “go-to guy” in all areas of EMS research application, EKG interpretation, and cardiac arrest.  

In his current capacity of EMS Training Officer for Bend Fire Department, Petar is charged with the running of the department’s resuscitation quality assurance program. He provides feedback to every crew member on cardiac arrest resuscitations, providing them with the metrics of their resuscitation, emphasizing the positive areas and identifying areas of improvement. Petar received the Oregon EMS Director’s Medal for doubling cardiac arrest survival in Bend in 2014. Joining the Stroke Awareness Oregon board came from his desire to see the recovery rates from strokes improve.


Norwyn Newby , MD (retired)

Dr. Newby,  a neurosurgeon retired from The Center in Bend,  graduated from OHSU in Portland in 1970. Trained at Walter Reed Medical Center, he moved to Bend in 1980 after 10 years of military service. Married to his wife, Barbara, for 52 years, they have four children and three grandchildren.  He looks for to assuring SAO thrives as it strengthens its foundation to educate communities about stroke and to support stroke survivors and their families.





Keith Taylor

Keith Taylor is a passionate and dedicated leader in the stroke community. He is dedicated to helping stroke survivors regain their own power and strength in order to live a full and productive life. 

While owning and being the sales manager of a large manufacturing business in Oregon, he had a stroke at the age of 48. After looking for, and not finding anyone to help with the depression and lack of confidence after having such an event in his life, he decided to fill that void for other stroke survivors.

Keith says, “I am extremely excited to be a part of SAO and believe the impact and support we can have on the stroke community, and those that help with such a debilitating event, is beyond significance.”



Kyley Hjeresen

Kyley Hjeresen is a Wealth Management Banker for US Bank located in Bend Oregon. He specializes in meeting the financial goals of those in the Central and Eastern Oregon communities. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. His goals with Stroke Awareness Oregon are to help support and educate the community of the signs & symptoms of stroke. 

A lifelong Bend resident, Kyley is passionate about serving the community in which he grew up. His hobbies include: golf, snowboarding, and spending time with his wife and 3 dogs.



Dr. Steven Goins


Steven Goins, MD, Co-Founder

Dr. Goins graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1979. He completed a pediatric residency at Oklahoma Children’s Memorial Hospital and finished his neurology at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Most of his career has been practicing child neurology and directing the Muscular Dystrophy Association clinic in Eugene for 30 years. In recent years, he recognized a calling to focus on hospital neurology and stroke. He and his wife moved to Bend in 2015. Dr. Goins is the medical director of the St. Charles Medical Center Stroke Program and also practices at Pacific Crest Neurology.   Read more about Steve Goins Bike Excursion; click here.



Carol Stiles, MS

Executive Director

Carol Stiles, MS

With over 30 years experience in public and nonprofit leadership, Mrs. Stiles brings the needed skills and qualities to Stroke Awareness Oregon including strategic and financial planning, program development, and relationship building. Mrs. Stiles is passionate about servant leadership, the community and doing the right thing, and able to support the Board of Directors in achieving Stroke Awareness Oregon’s goals. For ten years, Carol served as Executive Director of The Center Foundation, and prior to that was the Director of Community Education and Director of Family Development Programs for Central Oregon Community College. She has extensive Board experience including current Chair of the Samara Learning Center, and Vice Chair of Co-Serve International. Through Co-Serve International, she mentors leadership students in Herat, Afghanistan. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Illinois State University and a Masters Degree in Social Work Administration from University of Illinois-Champaign. Mrs. Stiles was named the 2018 Bend Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year.

Community Advisory Panel

Dr. Travis Abele, MD, CORA

Is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist with additional subspecialty certification in neuroradiology. Dr. Abele has expertise in all aspects of neuroradiology including imaging of the brain, head, neck, and spine, and also specializes in performing image guided spine procedures.

Debbie Agnew, Red Bee Press

Ms. Agnew has worked for a visitor publication, and sold radio advertising in Central Oregon for over a decade. She gained a large client base of business owners, many who have become good friends. With her experience in the visitor market, she realized that there was a need to reach visitors as well as locals and wanted to create something that business owners would be able to track.

Dr. Mark Belza, MD

Dr. Belza is a Stanford trained neurosurgeon who has been practicing neurosurgery and serving the bend community since 1991. He specializes in disorders of the brain and spine and is an advocate for non­surgical approaches to the spine.  He is focused on treating patients in Central Oregon with clinics in Madras, Prineville, and he also travels to The Dalles to care for patients in the Columbia Gorge.

Dr. Knute Buehler, MD

Dr. Buehler is originally from Roseburg, Oregon. He attended Oregon State University (OSU) and graduated with degrees in history and microbiology. He attended Merton College, Oxford as OSU’s first Rhodes Scholar before graduating from John Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, Maryland. He now is an orthopedic surgeon in Bend, Oregon. 

Dr. Ben English, MD

Dr. English specializes in minimally invasive image guided therapies, including peripheral vascular disease, aortic aneurysm repair, deep vein thrombus, uterine fibroids, varicosities, kyphoplasty, and especially interventional oncology cancer therapies. “I strive to work collaboratively with our oncology and surgical colleagues to provide excellent and compassionate care.” His goal is help provide the community education and access to minimally invasive vascular and Interventional radiology therapies through training and experience, combined with the latest technology and non-invasive imaging.

Dr. Dan Hagg, MD

Dr. Hagg’s work has been focused on new techniques of gene transfer in T cells and antibody immunotherapies for cancer. His current research interests include inflammatory markers of sepsis, with several ongoing projects looking at the nature and diagnostic accuracy of the biphasic aPTT waveform in sepsis.

Greg Kast, Caregiver

Mr. Kast has been chief caregiver for his wife, who had a stroke in January, 2017.  Coordinating and scheduling doctor, therapist, and long-term care providers has given him an appreciation for the challenges of dealing with the short and long-term issues strokes present to both victims and family members.  He and his wife live in Touchmark.

Dita Keith, Executive Director, Healing Reins

Ms. Keith has been an active and involved member of the Central Oregon community since 1992. She joined Healing Reins in 2007. She is a PATH International Certified Instructor as well as a PATH International Certified Equine Specialist. Ms. Keith has been an avid rider since the age of 10, and has a passion for all things equine. Ms. Keith has shared her passion for horses by serving as a Bend Senior High School Equestrian Drill Team coach and a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Posse member.

Brad Porterfield, Executive Director, Latino Community Association

Mr. Porterfield is originally from Riverside, California.  He lived and studied in Oaxaca, Mexico and  worked in Uruguay with the Peace Corps as an Environmental Planner and Educator.  He also lived and worked in Thailand as an Educator.  In Oregon, he has worked with low-income housing communities in Eugene/Springfield, a growth impact planning group in Hermiston, and the Alliance of Forest Workers & Harvesters based in Eugene.

Dr. Ray Tien, MD

Dr. Tien is part of The Center’s neurosurgical team, where he leverages his extensive expertise in the areas of stroke treatment, spinal cord injuries, and brain trauma to help patients of all ages. He enjoys the interactions with patients who place almost unimaginable trust in his judgment, training, and ability. At The Center, Dr. Tien continues his passion for research and has completed numerous studies.


Want more information about SAO or want to help?

We need volunteers and donations. Call 541-323-5641 ext 347, or email