Monday, March 04, 2019

Luke Perry could have been me - or any of us

I'm not one to follow celebrity news. I find it all so vacuous, shallow, a general waste of otherwise-precious time. I don't think anyone cares about who I'm in a relationship with, where I go, what I wear, what I drive, or who I'm arguing with on social media. That cuts both ways: I don't care about the relationship, travel, fashion or automotive habits of anyone else, regardless of how famous they may be.

So I rarely write about Hollywood types because, frankly, I've got better things to do with my time.

Please remember that word, time.

Today's a little different. Luke Perry died today. You may remember him as Dylan McKay in Beverly Hills 90210, or as Archie Andrews's dad in Riverdale. He was 52 years-old, and never recovered from a massive stroke suffered last week. This is where a celebrity's story becomes directly relevant to me. Because I had a stroke a few years ago*. And unlike Mr. Perry, I survived.

In my ideal world, seemingly healthy 52-year-olds, no matter their station in life, don't get cut down by strokes. In my ideal world, everyone knows the risks, in themselves and others, and knows what to do if the worst happens. In my ideal world, everyone gets the help they need, immediately, and no one dies or is left disabled.

I've spent the years since my stroke advocating for better stroke awareness and education. Because studies consistently show a direct correlation between rapid medical response and survival. But I'm just some guy in Canada, whereas Luke Perry had an infinitely larger network. And if all of his fans shifted the time they'd otherwise spend watching breathless celeb coverage on TV, or posting thoughts-and-prayers comments to Facebook into, say, learning what F.A.S.T. is, maybe a life, or many lives, would be saved.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada has a fantastic resource section. Read it here. Then print it and leave it on your fridge. And share it. Via email, messaging, social media, whatever works. Because stroke doesn't discriminate, and young folks can be just as easily picked off as anyone else. Because you can never be too annoying when it comes to educating your friends. I know this firsthand.

I realize I'm living in my ideal world. But unlike Mr. Perry, I was one of the lucky ones. We owe it to him, and others like him, to apply those lessons so that others may live.

* Read about it here. More resources here: 

1 comment:

photowannabe said...

Yes it can happen to anyone..thank you for the resources...
Well said...and I'm glad you are one of the survivors.