At Age 93, Stroke Survivor Sid Savage Continues to "THINK"
May 30, 2012
CANTON, Ohio (May 30, 2012) - Those who are lucky enough to know Sid Savage know he is a fighter. Not just because he spent 592 days in combat as a front line medic during World War II. Rather, it’s because Sid Savage, at age 93, has survived not one, but two strokes in the past nine years. And, no, you won’t find him sitting around feeling sorry for himself. In fact, sitting around just isn’t something Savage does.
If you are lucky enough to find him sitting, it’s probably because he’s sharing stories with members of THINK, the stroke support group he helped start at Aultman Woodlawn. THINK is an acronym, created by the group of stroke survivors that stands for “Together Helping Increase Neurological Knowledge.” The THINK group, also called the Stroke Support Group, meets the third Thursday of every month at Aultman Woodlawn. Made up of stroke survivors and their families, the group has grown substantially since it was originally founded four years ago. The idea for a stroke support group originated with Andrea Crayden, a social worker in Aultman Woodlawn’s rehab unit. She knew it would be beneficial for stroke survivors to get together, encourage and inspire one another. The charter members of the group included Savage and his wife, Nancy; Bill and Clara Draper and Jim Geis. Today, more than 11 members of the group, now referred to as ‘THINK,’ meet each month to share stories, give support, tips and encouragement to one another.
“The members of the group give each other ideas and tips,” said Maria Page, RN, lead of the Woodlawn rehab unit. “After all, they are the real experts – they know it best because they live it every day.”
With age and experience behind him, Savage is perhaps the chief expert in the group. “Everyone loves Sid,” Page continued. “He keeps everybody cheerful and he is such an inspiration to the group.” In fact, a recent war story Savage shared about saving the life of a fellow soldier brought many members of the group to tears. “Stories like that really give the patients hope and inspiration,” Page said. “It keeps the members engaged and gets them motivated.”
Savage’s wife Nancy agreed. “Sid is a living example to his fellow survivors,” she said. “He was able to re-train himself, not just once, but twice. He is able to reassure others that they can get there, too.”
Savage feels it is now his job to educate, inspire and help stroke survivors. “I tell them, I was just like you – I went from a wheelchair to a walker to my walking on my own,” he said.
“Sid couldn’t even move his legs in January,” Nancy said. “But he’s a fighter. Now he exercises six days a week. Sid truly listens to everything his doctors tell him to do.”
Savage agreed with his wife. “My doctors are great. I have a whole team of Aultman doctors – my cardiologist, neurologist, my family doctor,” he said. “They all give me great care.” Savage is so faithful to his Aultman group that he refuses to leave Canton and move to Naples, Florida.
“He just doesn’t want to leave his doctors,” Nancy said. “Sid just loves Aultman.”
And, he loves his “job” with the Aultman Woodlawn THINK group. “I’m still here for a reason,” Savage said. “I have work to do.”