Senator Kirk pushes for stroke awareness

By WEEK Producer

April 15, 2014 Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 10:05 AM CDT

QUINCY, Ill. -- U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is encouraging people to get educated about stroke symptoms.

Two years after suffering a stroke himself, Kirk toured Blessing Hospital in Quincy to learn more about Blessing's stroke care.

He talked with other stroke victims and said many people try to ignore the tell-tale signs of a stroke.

"We talked about the typical farmer attitude," Kirk said. "When they have a pain in one side, and start to lose function, they say , 'Oh, I'm so self reliant I'll just ride this out.' That's the wrong move. At that time, there could be some critical damage done to your brain."

Kirk still uses a wheelchair to get around, and undergoes six to seven hours of rehabilitation a week. One of the not-so-obvious results of his stroke was that Kirk had to learn to read again.