Young Women Reclaim Lives after Stroke

Updates on Madeline Mudd and Molly Ogden following their strokes

Stroke doesn’t discriminate, as 2 young women – active, healthy and just 16 at the time their strokes occurred – can attest. Madeline and Molly brought inspiring determination to their efforts to survive and thrive after stroke. Several years ago, we shared their stories after they received care at The University of Kansas Health System. We visited with them recently to discover where their lives took them next.

Madeline

Competitive figure skater Madeline Mudd has made tremendous strides in her recovery, but has more to accomplish before she’ll be able to live on her own one day. She struggles with short-term memory, but is adapting and making progress. She has learned to rely on her calendar, reminders, timers and a large white board in her room to keep organized.

Madeline takes 1 or 2 classes at Maple Woods Community College each semester. She studies twice as hard as other students, but is learning. She wants to work with animals one day and dreams of owning a cat café, where drinking coffee and petting cats would feature prominently.

She also has discovered a new calling as a skating coach. Madeline had hung up her skates after her stroke, with memory challenges affecting her ability to perform a program. But then the skate director at the Independence Community Ice Rink offered her a job as a "Learn to Skate" coach. She is a natural, and the experience gave her the confidence to re-enroll in skating lessons herself. She is again working with her own coach at the Mudds’ local rink.

Madeline can drive and enjoys the independence driving brings. She has the same great attitude and funny sense of humor she always brought to everything she did. In fact, her determination and strength earned her an impressive honor from U.S. Figure Skating: She was named one of the organization’s Get Up® heroes for embodying a spirit that may fall, but won’t stay down.

Molly

Molly Ogden fought back from her stroke to graduate on time with her high school class in May 2015. She continued on to Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. Her family decided to move to central Oklahoma to expand their cattle operation and help her brother pursue his dream of participating in rodeos. The move brought positive changes for Molly, too.

The family joined a new church, where Molly volunteers in a youth after-school program. She also volunteers at Cargo Ranch, a nonprofit organization that seeks to meet the physical and spiritual needs of area children. Molly continues speech, occupational and physical therapies in formal settings and on her own. She takes part in a support group for aphasia – a language disorder that can be caused by stroke – and volunteers there, too.

Molly attended Oklahoma State University’s Cowboy Aphasia Camp last summer and plans to return. Thanks to an adapted accelerator pedal for the family car, she’s begun driving again, an accomplishment she relishes for the freedom it makes possible. She drives herself to volunteer opportunities and the gym almost every day.

Even though her life changed dramatically when her stroke occurred, Molly has remained positive and happy. She advocates for stroke awareness, especially among young people.

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