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.

Stroke Connection. Get the app for free.


- Advertisement -

This link is provided for convenience only and is not an endorsement or recommendation of either the linked-to entity or any product or service.

AD. Amramp Making Life Accessible. 20 years. Be accessible to everyone. Protect your clients & their caregivers from slip and fall accidents. 888-715-7599. Click here for more info.

AD: American Stroke Association-American Heart Association logo. Did you know that about 1 in 4 stroke survivors have a second stroke? Learn more.


AD. American Heart Association logo. Know your blood pressure numbers. And what they mean. Gain Control.  Learn more.


Ad: American Heart Association Support Network. Facing recovery after a stroke or heart disease diagnosis can be overwhelming. You are not alone. Our community is here for you. Join us today.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke Rehabilitation

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

What to Expect from Outpatient Rehab

After stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type of rehabilitation. Outpatient therapy may consist of Several types of therapy. Whether a patient is referred to inpatient or outpatient therapy depends on the level of medical care required.

What to Expect in Stroke Rehab

Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-part series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Occipital Lobe

Our occipital lobe, the smallest of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex, controls how we visually interpret our world.

When Stroke Affects the Cerebellum

The cerebellum contains 80 percent of our neurons. Its job seems to be to make things better. We talked with neuroscientist Jeremy Schmahmann about how stroke affects the “little brain.”

When Stroke Affects the Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe helps us make sense of sensory information, like where our bodies and body parts are in space, our sense of touch, and the part of our vision that deals with the location of objects.

When Stroke Affects the Frontal Lobe

Of the four lobes that make up the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe is the largest. It plays a huge role in many of the functions that make us human — memory, language, movement, judgment, abstract thinking.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Helping Others Understand

Stroke affects people differently and many of the effects of stroke can be complicated. Helping friends and family understand how a stroke is affecting a survivor can help everyone involved.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting 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!