Making an Impact in Illinois

In our Support Showcase department, we highlight the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!

Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other, Inc. (SSEEO) offers support but isn’t your traditional stroke support group. Founded in 2004 by survivors, caregivers and other stroke stakeholders as a patient-support advocacy group, SSEEO has grown into a nonprofit that provides advocacy, support, education and resources to stroke families.

With almost a thousand members, SSEEO offers a variety of programs and services including an e-newsletter, website, toll-free teleconference series, Survivor2Survivor (S2S) post-stroke telephone support program, a walk/run for stroke and regional events. With these programs, SSEEO is able to reach families in Illinois and across the country. Originally sponsored by the American Heart Association /American Stroke Association, SSEEO is now an independent, 501(C) 3 nonprofit organization with an active board of directors.

Here are some of the ways SSEEO contributes to stroke families and the cause of stroke in Illinois:

  • The toll-free Lunch & Learn teleconference series started in 2007 as a way to build community, provide support and share information by connecting survivors, caregivers, healthcare professionals and other stroke stakeholders. The bi-monthly series covers a wide range of topics from “Navigating Legal Issues for Family Caregivers” to “Post-Stroke Depression and Fatigue.” Anyone is welcome on the calls, though there is a 60-person limit. All are recorded and uploaded to the SSEEO website, where anyone can listen.
  • SSEEO put on its 10th annual stroke conference in 2015. The stroke conference draws survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals from across the Midwest. The conference provides participants with inspiration, support and tools to bring back to their communities. The conference included “Driving and Transportation after a Stroke,” “Music Therapy” and “Emergency Preparedness for Those with Functional Needs.” Their first regional quarterly stroke conference will be August 9, 2016 at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
  • “Stroke Can Happen at Any Age” is a SSEEO presentation comprised of a panel of young stroke survivors (21-51), a neurologist and a stroke coordinator, who is responsible for organizing and administering stroke outreach programs at a local hospital. Since stroke is striking younger people, the goal is to raise awareness and prevention of stroke to local employers who have young workforces.
  • “Survivor2Survivor” (S2S) is a telephone based support program operated by SSEEO volunteers with special training, overseen by a medical advisory team. All the call volunteers are survivors or caregivers who provide encouragement, support and resources for new survivors who have been discharged from the hospital or rehabilitation facility. They are always encouraged to come to the local support group to get connected with other survivors.
  • The SSEEO annual walk/run for stroke is held in conjunction with American Stroke Month in May. The event offers family, friends and survivors an opportunity to participate in an event to celebrate the life and journey of survivors. It includes a health fair, screenings and stroke education.

“In addition to these activities, SSEEO believes it is essential for survivors and caregivers to play a key role in representing the interest of current and future stroke families by being the voice of the patient during the legislative planning process,” said Christine Winiecki, SSEEO’s director. SSEEO volunteers participate in American Stroke Association advocacy events, lobby days and stroke calls-to-action legislative requests.

“These programs, events and initiatives could not be accomplished without the countless volunteers who work tirelessly for the SSEEO mission to provide advocacy, support education and resources to survivors and their families,” Winiecki said. “We also could not prosper without the generous financial support of our hospital sponsors, donors and in-kind support.”

About Our Group

Name: Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other Inc. (SSEEO)


Phone: 888-988-8047

Founded: 2004

Members: 887

Attendance: No in-person meetings

Program includes:

• Regional conferences

• Survivor2Survivor (S2S) post-stroke telephone support calls

• Stroke Can Happen at Any Age

• Walk/run for Stroke

• Toll-free Lunch & Learn teleconference series

• Lobby Day at the state capitol in Springfield and in Washington, D.C.

This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.



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