Grand Valley student and cross-fit athlete recovers from stroke

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jan 31, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Lauren Ziegler is a 21-year-old college student who loves to work out and prides herself on living a healthy lifestyle. When she woke up Dec. 6 to get ready for class, the Grand Valley State University senior knew something was seriously wrong.

“I kept collapsing and I wasn’t able to get back up off the ground,” said Lauren, who was able to crawl to her phone and call her sister for help.

After Lauren arrived at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, a Comprehensive Stroke Center, doctors determined she had experienced a massive stroke that caused paralysis on one side of her body and a host of other complications. Spectrum’s interdisciplinary team of experts worked to save her life, and two weeks later she was medically stable and ready to begin acute rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

“She was the perfect candidate and progressed very quickly,” said Lauren Lenca, a physical therapist on Mary Free Bed’s stroke and research teams. “She welcomed every challenge we gave her. Her motivation and work ethic will take her far in life."

Lauren has worked diligently with her physical, occupational, speech-language and recreational therapists and has made an amazing recovery.  She has a goal to participate in the Grand Rapids Half Marathon in the fall.

A stroke is a loss of blood flow from either a blockage or bleeding in blood vessels in the brain. The first symptoms of a stroke is usually changes in the movement of your face, ability to move your arms, changes in speech, and a loss of balance. To learn more about strokes, click here.