GCI Health, YoungStroke partner to boost awareness of strokes in younger people

GCI and YoungStroke will work to engage younger demographics about the warning signs and risk factors of strokes among people under 65 years old.

Photo via YoungStroke
Photo via YoungStroke

NEW YORK: GCI Health and advocacy group YoungStroke have teamed up to start conversations around the rise in strokes among people under 65 years old.

GCI is working with the nonprofit on foundational branding and communications strategies to raise awareness of strokes and support YoungStroke 2015 - a conference to be held over three days at the end of June in Jacksonville, Florida.

Wendy Lund, GCI Health CEO, said the firm is looking to facilitate partnerships between YoungStroke and companies with a young audience – from Millennials to 65-year-olds – such as mobile brands and automakers.

She added that the firm’s objective is to help the advocacy organization reach people to help them understand if they’re at risk and that stroke isn’t just something that affects the elderly population. The agency will also position YoungStroke as a line of support for victims.

Once partnerships are in place, whether for CSR activities or sponsorships, Lund said the group can potentially leverage its partners’ "unique resources and channels."

Despite the fact that roughly 30% of stroke victims per year are younger than 65 years old, less than a quarter of Americans can identify "warning signs," according to a company statement. Risk factors include hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, the statement added.

Amy Edmunds, YoungStroke founder and CEO, said the conference this summer will aim to "help elevate this [topic] to the public’s eye, and move away from the stereotypical perception of stroke to understanding its really devastating impact."

Although Edmunds has a healthy lifestyle that includes running races and eating a balanced diet, she said she suffered a stroke at 45 years old. Her home state of South Carolina, or "the Stroke Buckle," is "exceeding the global percentage at 58.5% of strokes happening to people under 65," she said.

Edmunds added that widespread awareness and knowing the signs of a stroke in others are important because "you can’t save yourself when you have a stroke."

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