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Stroke Awareness Oregon, a Bend-based nonprofit, supports stroke families in their best possible lives. Part of that effort involves a caregiver support group with Molly Buccola as the facilitator. Molly’s journey from stroke survivor to advocate shines as a powerful beacon of tenacity and leadership in stroke recovery and support. As the facilitator of Stroke Awareness Oregon’s monthly caregiver support group, her unwavering dedication and compassionate service have been pivotal in fostering a sense of community and empowerment among caregivers. At just 21 years old, Molly faced a life-altering event when she suffered a stroke due to venous sinus thrombosis, leaving her left side paralyzed. This challenging period set her on a path of rehabilitation and recovery, with her family serving as caregivers and providing support as she relearned basic tasks. It was during this time that Molly gained a profound understanding of the impact stroke has on both survivors and their caregivers. Through her own journey, she learned that stroke survivors never fully move on. They move beyond.

Driven by her experiences, Molly started Beyond Stillness: Stories After Stroke, a non-profit group whose goal is to help stroke survivors and caregivers tell their stories.These stories share wisdom, purpose, connection, and hope with others. Through this initiative, she brings a wealth of experience and empathy to her role in facilitating Stroke Awareness Oregon’s caregiver support group, reflecting a shared commitment to enhancing the quality of life for stroke survivors and their caregivers.

Stroke Awareness Oregon’s caregiver support group acknowledges that caregiving ‘is the hardest job you never applied for” and serves as a safe and supportive space for those navigating the complexities of caring for stroke survivors. Regular meetings provide caregivers with solace, connecting them with others who understand the challenges they face. The group offers a welcoming space for sharing experiences, learning from one another, and finding emotional reinforcement.

John, a dedicated member of the caregiver group, never misses the monthly meetings and praises Molly’s exceptional ability to connect with everyone,  regardless of their stage in stroke recovery. “Molly’s listening skills are unparalleled,” John remarks. “She has a knack for asking thoughtful follow-up questions that encourage even the most reserved individuals to share their stories.” He adds, “While the group can’t undo the past, it’s the only place I’ve found in a decade where I don’t need to explain my daily challenges. Everyone here understands the profound life changes and the struggle to be truly comprehended, regardless of their specific circumstances.”

The importance of peer support for caregivers cannot be overstated. Such groups offer a space to share experiences, reduce isolation, and gain valuable resources. A skilled facilitator like Buccola ensures the group remains focused and supportive, helping members navigate complex emotions and practical issues. Stroke Awareness Oregon recognizes the invaluable contribution of caregivers in the recovery process, and Buccola’s leadership has been instrumental in ensuring they receive the necessary support. Her dedication exemplifies the power of community collaboration to drive positive change and improve outcomes for stroke survivors and their families.

As the caregiver support group grows under Buccola’s guidance, Stroke Awareness Oregon remains committed to providing comprehensive support and resources to caregivers across Oregon and beyond. Together, they are transforming the landscape of stroke care and empowering caregivers to provide the best possible support for their loved ones.

Caregiver support group virtual meetings are held on the 1st Wednesday of every month at 3:00 PM Pacific Time via Zoom. No registration is required.
For more information about Stroke Awareness Oregon’s caregiver support group and upcoming meetings, visit their website at http://www.strokeawarenessoregon.org or connect with Molly Buccola at Beyond Stillness: Stories After Stroke (https://www.beyondstillness.org/).

About Stroke Awareness Oregon:
Stroke Awareness Oregon is dedicated to raising public awareness about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation while providing support to stroke survivors and their families. Through community outreach, educational programs, and fundraising events, we strive to reduce the incidence of stroke, improve access to quality care, and enhance the quality of life for those affected by stroke in Oregon and beyond.