Jason Russell, Stroke Survivor

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In 2017, I was at my desk working as a Product Manager for Stanley Black and Decker when I had a stroke.  Luckily my coworkers noticed the signs and quickly came to my aid and called the paramedics. One of my coworkers had a former career as a medic in the military and knew exactly what to do.  I was rushed to Grady Hospital and treated for a hemorrhagic stroke and brain bleed.  I had a large ruptured and I was placed in a medically induced coma while being operated upon to place a clip to stop the bleeding. I have little to no memory of the time before the procedure.

I currently manage social media for Young and Restless of Atlanta which is an amazing and inspiring support group in Atlanta for stroke survivors and their families. The group was critical in my recovery because for the first time, I met people my age that had also suffered strokes and TBIs. It was refreshing to connect with others that could directly relate to your lived experience.

Edward Walton and I started Black Men Run in Atlanta, GA in 2013 as a vehicle to give African American men the opportunity to run, train and fellowship. We have been extremely successful in this undertaking with over 50 chapters (running groups) spread across the USA along with groups in the UK and Europe. It quickly gained notary and attention. After my injury, I could have retired from running and I think back to a time when a successful day for me was walking 5 steps in rehab post stroke in 2017 where I was paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I had to re-learn to walk and run and this community of runners fueled my passion and drive to get better daily.  In 2022 Black Men Run introduced a shoe in collaboration with Saucony that was the first of its kind. The shoe was a take on the popular Kinvaria shoe with Black Men Run branding throughout.

I had the privilege to work with the founder of the Young and Restless of Atlanta Stroke Support Group, Roger Brathwaite who we unfortunately lost in 2023.  Roger was a spokesperson for stoke survivors and advocate for our cause. He has been tremendously missed by all who knew him and he had a bright smile that could light up a room.  Black Men Run will be hosting a memorial 5k in his memory on June 1, 2024.   Home – Black Men Run

 

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