Sekou Writes, Stroke Survivor

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In July 2022, while delivering the commencement speech at the Fisk University graduation ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee I found that I couldn’t articulate what I was trying to say.  My co-presenter noticed the difficulty and took over for me so I could sit down and rest.  I remember one of the parents came up to me and asked me a question.  I tried to answer but the words came out garbled.  So, I decided I needed to get some air and when I got up, my feet wouldn’t work. Nothing would work.  I just took a step then everything went haywire, and I felt myself fall.  I felt two hands on my back, but I couldn’t turn around and say thank you.  And that’s what I remember.

The next thing I recall is waking up in the hospital and seeing a nice, caring lady, who I did not recognize as my mother.  The amnesia set in so quickly and I didn’t even remember my name.  I didn’t remember anything.  And I couldn’t speak.  Every time I tried to speak people would just look at me and then turn around and start talking again because nothing but gibberish was coming out of my mouth.

My right side was paralyzed, and I was told I had a stroke.  I had a stroke and I survived.

I remember seeing a wheelchair in my room and even though I couldn’t remember anything, I remember seeing that wheelchair and thinking no.  No, I will not climb into that wheelchair.  I will not.  And that’s before I knew anything about who I was.  I used to take off all the wires connected to me and walk to the bathroom – half paralyzed side and everything.

Running has saved my life.  Now I took a bit of a leap from walking without a wheelchair to running but you see the connection.  I wouldn’t get in the wheelchair.  I found my way walking to the bathroom and I kept on pushing.  I kept on fighting.  And every time they gave me something to help me walk, I kept on deterring them and so now I can walk, even though technically I’m still slated to ride in a wheelchair.  That’s a lot of energy to walk every day, to run every day but I just know I’ve got to do that to avoid riding in a wheelchair or avoid using a cane. I’ve got to do all that to avoid these other things.  So, running really saved my life and having the goal of running a marathon right then changed everything because I wanted to run a marathon immediately to change the conversations people were having about me.  Because people were having conversations about me – I could hear it.  People were having these thoughts about me that were really dark and I had to change the conversation. So I changed the conversation to “Did you hear Sekou had a stroke?”  “Yea, but he’s running a marathon!” That changed things for me and I’m still fighting.  But I changed the story about me.  I ran the 2022 NYC marathon less than 4 months after having that stroke.  I can’t even believe it.

I still suffer from memory issues and aphasia, but I’m trying to do the best I can every day.  I published a book that I wrote before the stroke.  It helped me, so I put it out to help you or anyone out there like you to help you get through it.  Because who knew I would write a book that would be helpful to me.  So I shared it.  Every day, I don’t feel like running but I know I have to get up and get after it and fight for it.  So aside from that, I have a show that you can find on YouTube where I talk about these issues and I also talk about how to be rich –  it’s called Get Rich 101.

And with your help, I’m going to be a motivational speaker because I need to speak to people who have had this experience and people who have maybe not turned the corner as well as I have.  My motivational advice is to “Find Your Anger”.  I had to find my anger at that wheelchair.  My anger at that cane.  My anger at everything to fight.  And no one told me that running was going to help.  No one told me to stop using the cane.  No one told me to stop using that wheelchair.  I knew it in myself.  So, I advise you to get in touch with yourself and fight.  Fight the good fight.

To hear Sekou tell his story, go to:


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