Stroke survivor Lisa Deck is taking her story national.
Deck, a 39-year-old mother of two from North Attleboro, is among nine people selected to become the faces of heart disease and stroke in the The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women campaign.
Called "Real Women," the nine volunteers will share their stories to dispel myths about heart disease and stroke.
"We'll be called on to speak and share so we can raise awareness about heart disease and stroke," Deck said.
It is not the first time Deck has shared her story. She has crisscrossed the local area to talk about the three strokes she has had, the first at 21.
"It's very important to me," she said. "I'm not the typical face of stroke. It's important for everyone to realize that heart disease and stoke do not discriminate.
"I want to encourage people to take action if they have symptoms and to live a healthy and fun lifestyle," she said.
About a week before graduating from college, Deck began experiencing stroke symptoms, including a bad headache, confusion, drooping face and numbness. The first hospital she visited sent her home for rest.
"They thought it was probably a migraine brought on by stress," Deck said. "I didn't get better, so I went to another hospital. As I sat there in the waiting room, I saw a poster saying May is stroke awareness month that listed all my symptoms."
The second hospital confirmed Deck had a stroke, leading to physical therapy.
Six months later, Deck suffered a second stroke and learned it was because of a rare brain disease called central nervous system vasculitis.
"The treatment for disease and stroke was very intense," she said. "It was a rough, rough time. The pros were I was young, had a great support system, great doctors and a positive attitude."
Four years of treatment included chemotherapy and steroids, and now Deck must take blood thinners for life.
She had a third stroke when her medication was tapered down, but has been healthy since then.
"There are some limitations," she said. "I still have various tests and I do fatigue more easily. I have side effects that most people don't experience in day-to-day living. But luckily, I'm doing well overall and feeling good."
Deck's work sharing her story has included advocacy, fundraising and even giving testimony before Congress in the hope of educating others about the signs of stroke.
She is available for speaking engagements.
For more information, visit her Facebook page ISurvivor Lisa Deck.
Visit GoRedForWomen.org to learn more about the campaign and for tips to reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke.