Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year! by Randy

Now it is almost 2016.  New Years Day is this Friday.  2015 has been an amazing year. Recovery is always getting better.  Recovery is a change with everyone that gets better.

We have so many wonderful members that have changed their lives. Survivors are members that have had a stroke, aphasia and brain injuries.  They are always working hard for learning so many changes.  

Not only are we meeting new members at the SCC.  We are also meeting new members from around the world.  These are amazing survivors.  People that never give up getting better.  So many of us are always trying to read, write, speak, walk, and workout.

Enjoy and love the new 2016!!

Aphasia Will Not Be Silent!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Log Cabin Getaway by Christie

It was a much needed getaway so my husband and I went to a log cabin in West Virginia for a week.  We needed to relax and unwind from my husband's budget and board meeting extravaganza.  He was ready to leave before he went to the board meeting so he needed to get away.  We packed up with bags, fold-up chairs, coolers, tons of food and Kona's items and her.  We drove 2 hours away and stayed put until we left. 

We went for walks around the path, watched a movie, 'Trainwreck' and the show 'Suits'.  The movie was the worst one yet.  It was slow and there was no plot.  However, the 'Suits' we watched was fantastic. We watched many episodes and there were all great.  If you haven't watched it, you should.

During the day, I read my books.  The first one was ‘Missing You' by Harlan Coben.  I've read a couple of books but this was one of the best.  The next book was The Cuckoo's Calling.  I haven't finished it yet but it's coming along.  I use the Audiobook and the accent is British so the narrator is awful. 

All and all we had a wonderful vacation.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Today is Giving Tuesday

Giving Back - Christie "Kalikie" Arnold

I wanted to give back to a charity to enrich the lives of stroke survivors. The founding fathers and I started this event after I had a massive stroke which affected my ability to effectively communicate.  My stroke left me with a choice to fight back or give up.  I chose to fight. I found an amazing place called the Stroke Comeback Center in Vienna, VA, for stroke survivors just like me.  My stroke was 8½ years ago and it was a long hard road but I believed in myself and found a way to regain my life back even if there are some quirks; but it suits me just fine. My ability to fight keeps me occupied and I will never give up as long as I live!
We started a golf tournament called the Kalikie Classic (it's my name in Hawaiian). It's been running for 8 years and the past year we raised over $15,000 for benefiting the scholarship fund. All the proceeds from this event are donated to the Stroke Comeback Center so that other stroke survivors can regain their speech. The Stroke Comeback Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit which provides support and services to families who have experienced a stroke, regardless of their ability to pay. They are the only facility like this in the DC metropolitan area.

My Giving Story  - Randy Kernus

I am so very proud to be involved with creating the SCC. So many wonderful possibilities have been created for the center. My most special donation has been from the DoMore24 United Way.

Currently we are doing the Caring Tree for the end of 2015. This year is telling people about how we can help survivors. Please help us to introduce as many individuals that can help our survivors. Stars for the holiday!
The most meaningful events that have happened to me as a survivor are from the Stroke Comeback Center. This organization helps some many people. These individuals are amazing. I have totally felt that. Four years ago I slowly began to understand what this center does. This center has helped so many survivors.
The center is my life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! - Chris V

I'm a firefighter so that is great job for giving. I've got injured on my motorcycle heading to a fire department meeting, so I can't do a lot for the firehouse. So I give around Christmas running Santa runs. It's actually a lot of time, both time and planning. This year I've got 2 fire engines, 1 ambulance, 1-2 command car and 2 Chiefs cars. It's a lot of work! Hanukkah and Christmas every day except Sunday. Engines, ambulance and command vehicles are just decked out in lights. We collect Toys for Tots and Wounded Warriors. We're estimating around 400-450 gifts. It's a lot of toys!!

 Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What a day! by Randy

11/16/15  What a day I have had.  I want to tell you about it.  Listen to a stroke survivor who does it all.  I have aphasia and will not be silent.

When waking up it was a usual day for me.  It takes time to figure out how the day is going to go.  The first thing is to take some meds and then coffee is needed.  Now it is time for Rudy my dog to go and check it out.  Time for him to have breakfast and back out he goes.  He is a barker.

Second cup of coffee and time to check some email as well as a payment.  By the way my morning started at 7.  My stroke survivor fitness workout was at 9.  At 10 it was my clinical trial from Georgetown.  Time spent looking at pictures and saying what they are.  Done with the trial and out to mow the lawn.

Okay it is lunch time and out to go into the grocery at Wegmans.  Back in the car and heading to my Mom’s condo.  She is having some TV problems.  Having trouble with Comcast.  This is becoming a regular with my mom.

On the phone with help from Comcast.  Always a challenge for me to get help but it seems to really help.  This women was great, she was able to talk to me about what was needed.  Lots of question and it worked.  Getting the TV’s to work correctly took about 3 hours. 

Left my mom’s at 4:15 and off to Walmart to get some new light bulbs on my car.  Noticed that the left front light was out.  Googled it and purchased two new ones.  Of course by the time I got home it was getting dark.  Get it done in the morning.

Left Walmart and stopped by Giant to pick up a few more items and headed home.  So now enough is enough.  I just spent about 3 hours to blog this one. 
Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pumpkin Galore! by Christie

Looking forward to pumpkin in the Fall season.  It is a new fad that has blown up the last few years.  Their are fans and haters.  For me, I am a fan but my husband is a hater.  I like to bake and have pumpkin coffee.  My favorite coffee is Dunkin Donuts so I frequent often and purchase pumpkin coffee and a pumpkin donut!  It's so tasty! 
I have made many recipes with pumpkin in the ingredients.  I made a new recipe called Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies.  I only did the cookie part, I didn't do the frosting.  I'm not a big fan when it comes to icing.  It was delicious!  I brought some to my Oma's house because she likes pumpkin.  She said they were too rich for her and she suggested swapping chocolate for raisins.  I am going to try it some time soon. 
The other grocery store I frequent is Trader Joes, because the have anything you can imagine relating to pumpkin.  I've tried pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin cranberry scones and pumpkin chai.  All are fantastic.
Some facts about pumpkin.  It was born in North America.  It is usually orange in color.  It is used both for food and recreation.  Typically it weighs approximately 6 to 18 pounds.  The biggest pumpkin in history weight 75 pounds. 
I truly think you should either purchase or bake something pumpkin during the fall season. 

Army Ten-Miler 2015 by Pat

This was our Pat's Team weekend for 2015. It was October 10th to the 11th. It was fun again! The greatest family, friends, New Jersey cousins and a old friend showed from Trinidad. Friday I stayed at the hotel. On Saturday Will and I put out the shirts and people we know came by. I was there for 6 hours. Then I went back to our house for a party. About 40 people showed up. That was great fun! Patty and I made the food. There was pasta and pies that were delicious. My Uncle had his birthday at the party. Some Army friends I haven't seen in years showed up. It really was a good time. But I needed to go back to the hotel to get some sleep.

The next day I woke up at 5:30am. By 6:00 I was downstairs and my brother Chris and my friend Grooove were there with my trike. Then we parked next to the Pentagon. I got on my trike and we went to the start of the race. When I got there 50 wounded warriors were getting ready for the race. Even some PT and OT people I know were there doing the race. I started getting motivated!

The race started and I felt good. I left Virginia and went to D.C. I was right behind a trike for 5 miles. At the 7 mile I started to go back to Virginia. At the same time the runners were at the 5 miler. I decided to go faster! I past five or six trike for the last three miles. The runner never caught me. My time was only 1 minute slower than last year. Then I went to our tent AAFMAA/RWB Team. My brother-in-law, Steve, was there and showed me they had tons of food. For the next hour friends wearing "Pat's Team" T-shirt and we took pictures.

Then we went to Samuel Beckett's restaurant for the party. This year was fun again. We sat in the back or outside. The weather was perfect. There was a lot of rugby on the TV. One of my soldier from 9 years ago, Russell Vidler, came by. It was just a great gala.

At 7 o'clock I went to the hotel to sleep. Wilson and I needed to pass out. I stayed at a hotel. I went upstairs and opened the door. Then got in bed. 10 minutes later I was about to sleep. Then I heard a noise in the bathroom. It happens with these people for Pat's Team. I got nothing to say thank you for the Pat's Team weekend!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Scary Trip to New York City by Chris

I'm frightened but it's really awesome to go to train, it was heading north to New York City!  
I've never been to New York, I thought it's basically the exact same thing DC. I didn't realize how big buildings are and the traffic is such a nightmare. So I went to catch a cab and every cab is full, so I ordered a Uber.
Looking around I thought it's DC but it's so so so not... It's a lot of people, cars and big buildings. I got to the hotel and checked in I'm going to go to 9/11 memorial. It's so hard for me to go there, steps, trying to slam a lot of people.  It was sad and inspirational.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Amazing Day at GWU Hospital by Randy

Listen to this Amazing Day at GWU Hospital

On October 13, 2015 I introduced myself to 350 people.  These where doctors, nurses,
SLPs, PTs and OTs.  I told these individuals that I am a stroke survivor and I have

I was sitting with 3 other SLPs and another stroke survivor who also has aphasia.  We
were both nervous but as soon as I started to speak my nervousness came to an end. 
The feeling was calm from that point on.  There was a time when I could not speak,
read or write.

We spoke for roughly an hour.  We were asked many questions about healthcare. After
my stroke I was not able to do much of anything at that time.  After 4 years my life, my
new life is getting better.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cooking Up a Storm by Christie

I have always loved cooking, but I'm not sure how I learned it because my mom was an awful cook.  I was self-taught.  I started after college by trying different options.  I'm not sure how I got my cooking genes because my heritage from all sides were a disaster but I truly love cooking.

After I had my stroke, I had to find different tools that would help me be able to cook again.  A normal can opener uses 2 hands to turn, therefore stroke survivors can't do it.  That is why I found a one-hand can opener online.  The manufacturer is Chef'n EZSqueeze.  It is less than $15 dollars. 

My memory has some issue with remembering items and measurements.  I use software called Key Ingredient Recipe.  It has all of my recipes so I don't have to remember anything. My reading is also an issue so I use software called Apple Speak.  It is on my iPhone and my iPad.  It makes my life easier.

When I prep, I use a mixing bowl and it doesn't stay put.  It moves around constantly.  I have a non-slip mat that holds it in place which makes me happy!  The manufacturer is Dycem.

I enjoy food.  It is my passion. My favorite food is Mexican.  I usually fix tacos, burritos or enchiladas.  Here is one of my all time favs!            

Spicy Chicken and Hazelnut Enchiladas


1          pound fresh tomatillos

2          Cloves Of Garlic

2          Jalapeno Peppers , seeded

2          tablespoons Cilantro

2          tablespoons Onions

         cup Sour Cream

         cup Plain Yogurt

1          tablespoon Honey

¼         teaspoon Salt

         cup Green Chiles Canned

6          Corn Tortillas

2          cups Chicken Breasts Cooked

2          cups Cheddar Cheese

1          cup Hazelnut Roasted & chopped


1. If using fresh tomatillos, prepare by washing and removing husks. Place in saucepan, cover with water and simmer until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes; drain. If using tomatillos, drain and discard liquid.

2. For sauce, mince garlic, jalapenos, cilantro and onions in food processor or blender. Add drained tomatillos, sour cream, yogurt, honey and salt; puree. Mix in green chilies and set aside.

3. Soften tortillas either by frying on both sides in a small amount of vegetable oil, by wrapping in foil and placing in hot oven until hot, or by placing in microwave oven until heated.
4. In the center of each tortilla, place about 2 tablespoons each of chicken, sauce and cheese. Add about 2 teaspoons chopped hazelnuts.

5. Pour 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of a greased 9x12-inch baking dish. Place filled enchiladas in dish and pour remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and then with hazelnuts.

6. Bake in a 350 oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Aphasia Will Not Be Silent by Randy

Aphasia will not be silent. What the hell is aphasia?  Very good question, aphasia is a language disability.  My stroke happened 4 years ago and I have aphasia.

It is unbelievable how my life has changed.  Four years ago I could barely speak.  I also could not read or write.  My therapy was very helpful to me.  The thing that has helped me in my recovery is the Stroke Comeback Center.

Not only the SCC but my wife has made so many differences to me.  She has been with me through every step of my recovery.   She is the lady that has really made me to not give up.  I have not and will not give up.

From the beginning of my stroke and having aphasia sucks.  Having this disability could have easily caused me to do nothing.  Quitting was never a possibility.  I am a different person. 

God always has a reason and mine is having aphasia.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Aspen! by Pat

Who thought I would ever go to Aspen? I had never been to Colorado! So Patty and I decided to go. The last 2 years we went to Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation. It was so fun. Patty talked to some friends and she wanted me to go to Aspen, CO. I didn't know that much about it.

It turned out the VA has been doing this for 29 years. Everyone in the DAV and VA can go skiing. We did the papers and did a physical. Then on March 28th we flew to Aspen for a week. I had been drinking water for a week and the altitude was very high!

On Monday and Wednesday I went to go curling. I couldn't wait! I had watched curling on TV for 20 years. It was hard to do. Then you had to walk on the ice. And you push a stones that weigh 40 pounds. I loved it!! I got better by the last day. And I drank water!

The other sport I did was skiing. I got very lucky. There were two people to show me how to ski. I was scared, Dave and Lisa were not. Dave was 63 years old and retired from the Army. Lisa was 35 years old and finished college in NYC. She was there and she went back to Colorado. She wanted to ski all the time and enjoy herself. They were nice right away. Then they made me get into the chairlift!

I went up and up. Then I got off. Phew. I relaxed. The guides were talking. Then the decided to go up again! It was freaking me out. It turned out where I skied were good for me. It was not too fast. I skied 5 times. I was getting better. Then Lisa told me to let go of my left arm. The last ski I did that day was interesting. We were skiing and Dave said something to Lisa. I was focusing until we stopped. Lisa told me to look at Dave on the right. I looked at the right and Dave was gone. He was not holding on or saving my life. He was 10 feet behind me. He started to clap. Check out this video.

Then Thursday I did some more skiing. And it snowed on Wednesday night. I worked with Lisa and Dave again. (My skiing heroes!) Right away I felt I could do it. We went to the same place to ski. The snow was faster. But I said, "Let's try to be faster. But not too much faster." It felt great. I was getting better, faster and not so scared. The last run they told me that I needed to let go of the pole. They said they would be with me. So we started, I let go of the pole and they pushed the pole all the way down. I couldn't reach it!  I needed to ski. I got to the end and I was so excited. I never fell down. It made my smile.

One night there was a group meeting for people like me, with Traumatic Brain Injury. There was about 30 people there. The stories were interesting and they taught me that TBI is different. All people are different.

On Saturday we went home. Flying was scary in the beginning. The airplane just went straight. I went to sleep. I thought that Aspen was incredible!! We will see you there next year.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Firecracker 5K by Randy

July 4, 2015 I ran my 4th 5K at the Reston VA Firecracker Run.  Running was always something that I did before my stroke and it is my recovery as well.

Four and a half years ago I had a massive stroke.  I also have Aphasia, which is a language disability.  This 5K run is to prove to people that this is about recovery.

The flag has always been used on the 4th of July.  It's about America so the run was fun.  This run was a little different this year.  It rained like crazy at this 5K.  I mean it rained.  Everyone was soaked. 

There were probably 2000 people running and walking the 5K.  It is always very interesting to me to see all of these people who are involved with the 5K. Of course it was the Fourth of July.  Many people also had clothing for the celebration.
This is about my recovery from my stroke.  Many of these runners and walkers do not have a disability, but I do.  All of these people were at the 5K.  Do not ever give up!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kalikie Classic by Christie 'Kalikie' Arnold

I had a massive stroke when I was only 30 years old which affected my ability to effectively communicate.  In the early days of my recovery, I felt hopeless and alone when I was in the hospital.  After I went home, I started my recovery. It was slow and daunting. I felt like I had a choice: fight back or give up. I chose to fight. I found an amazing place called the Stroke Comeback Center in Vienna, VA, for stroke survivors just like me. My stroke was 8½ years ago and it was a long hard road but I believed in myself and found a way to regain my life back even if there are some quirks; but it suits me just fine. My ability to fight keeps me occupied and I will never give up as long as I live!

After I had my stroke, I wanted to give back to a charity to enrich the lives of stroke survivors. The founding fathers and I started a golf tournament called the Kalikie Classic. It's my name in Hawaiian. This year the event will be held at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg, VA. The date is September 16, 2015. If you are interested, you can email me at

Part of my work is to get sponsors and donated items for the goody bags.  We have many different sponsorship packages to choose from. You can visit our website at All of the proceeds go towards the Stroke Comeback Center Scholarship Fund for survivors who can't afford to pay the full amount for groups.

We have been operating for 8 years and will continue to help survivors for many years to come.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Back to Baking by Randy

Before my stroke happened 4 years ago, I used to cook and bake.  I have been cooking again for quite a while.  However, this last 4th of July, I decided to bake banana bread.

My banana bread turned out to be pretty good.  After all of these years from my stroke I decided to bake again.  Laura was out at the grocery store.  I realized that we did not have any brown sugar. I texted Laura to pick up what I needed.

In order for me to bake the banana bread I had to watch YouTube to remember how to make what I wanted to bake.  YouTube is amazing.  By watching how someone else was baking, it it helped me to remember how to do it.

After watching more information about banana bread, it turns out that it is inexpensive.  It is also very healthy.   The best bananas are the ripe ones.

Mixing all of the ingredients together was fun.  Easy to do, right?  Not really for a stroke survivor.  However I was coming back to myself.   My crazy brain is getting better.  Again I enjoyed putting it all together.

When the mixing was finished it had to bake for an hour.  It smelled yummy but it was not finished.  After the banana bread was done it needed to cool.  Okay it was done, we now went to our friends' home for the Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

Apparently I did a good job with the banana bread.  Everyone seemed to think that what I made was tasty.  That made me very happy to hear that it was really good.  After I heard that it was good I needed to taste it myself.

The banana bread was a hit!! 

Loved it and can't what to make it again.