Why this stroke survivor cycled 4,500 miles across the United States

Why this stroke survivor cycled 4,500 miles across the United States

Why this stroke survivor cycled 4,500 miles across the United States

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As a result, Meyerson realized she wouldn’t be able to reprise her old role in the classroom, where she had focused on gender and diversity. This disappointment led her to write a book…Identity theft: rediscovering yourself after a strokereleased in 2019.


“The emotional journey is so important, and it’s not given enough importance,” says Meyerson, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management at MIT before completing her doctorate at Stanford. “Recovery is more than rehabilitation.”

Working on her book helped Meyerson through her own personal identity crisis, she says. Given her aphasia issues, she had help writing it — from her husband, Steve Zuckerman, writer Sally Collings, and their three children. His eldest son, Danny Zuckerman, served as a co-author. The book details her own experiences and includes academic research and the stories of 25 other people recovering from a stroke or similar condition. In documenting them, she recognized a common thread. “None of the people we interviewed had been guided through the emotional journey of identity reconstruction,” says her husband, who helps her when aphasia prevents her from finding her words. “We talk about goal a lot, and closing that gap in the system has become Deb’s goal.”

Meyerson, now an adjunct professor at Stanford, knew there was more work to do, so she and Zuckerman started a nonprofit called Stroke Onward to raise awareness and promote change in the medical model of stroke recovery. The 4,500-mile coast-to-coast bike ride across the United States in the summer of 2022 was their latest effort. Family, friends and other stroke survivors joined them for part or all of the trip.

“MIT taught me great things [are] possible,” says Meyerson.


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