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Grandmother's Stroke Inspires a Career

Posted by Lynn Bronikowski Aug 30 2017

Dawn Aycock of Atlanta will never forget that devastating day in 1997 when her beloved grandmother, Jimmie Bee Aycock, died of a hemorrhagic stroke at age 77.

Aycock was 26 and a registered nurse who from that sad moment would become inspired to focus her nursing career on stroke, particularly among African Americans who are twice as likely to die from a stroke as Caucasians.

“It was difficult because I was close to my grandmother who was a sweet and loving person,” said Aycock. “I feel she’s up there smiling down on me and now she inspires me to raise stroke awareness.”

As a registered nurse and nurse practitioner, Aycock has cared for stroke patients in both hospital and home settings.

Aycock holds a PhD in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and today is an associate professor in nursing at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She is conducting research on stroke prevention in African Americans, particularly among young adults and those with a family history of stroke with grants from the National Institute of Health and GSU.

“We can’t change the fact that we are African American and more prone to stroke but there are things that we can change to prevent stroke,” said Aycock. “Hypertension is the No. 1 stroke risk for African Americans so getting regular screenings at least twice a year is important. Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.”

To further raise awareness for stroke, Aycock will participate in the National Stroke Association’s Comeback Trail 5K walk/fun run on Oct. 7 in Historic Fourth Ward Park in Atlanta.

“By choice I am a passionate advocate for stroke awareness, prevention and research and hope to help others reduce their chances of stroke,” said Aycock

To register for the Comeback Trail 5K in Atlanta's Historic Fourth Ward Park on Oct. 7, visit:


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