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'Hula Girl' Hits the Comeback Trail

Posted by Lynn Bronikowski Sep 26 2017

When Liz Teller had a stroke she became known as Hula Girl.

“Once I was diagnosed I told friends and family that we were going to make as much fun of my condition as possible so that I wouldn’t take it too seriously and get depressed,” said Teller of Calicoon, N.Y.

So, when she, a friend and her sister went to a follow-up appointment with her neurologist, she wore a tiara and they all wore Hawaiian leis.

“My neurologist exclaimed that it was the most eccentric and refreshing thing she had ever seen as most family members become very anxious at these types of appointments,” said Teller, 45. “On the way out of the office, the staff asked what was up with the leis. I told them, ‘making the best of a bad situation.’”

From then on her neurologist began calling her Hula Girl every time she saw Teller.

Teller said she’s worked hard at her recovery, starting with small things such as opening cabinets and drawers with her affected hand. She would pick up cooking utensils and pot holders, and put laundry in the washer and dryer.

And she would walk—three miles most days to build strength.

“I’ve been practicing Tai Chi and yoga. I was doing meditation and going for acupuncture,” she said. “Some days are better than others, but overall, I’ve been determined to improve.”

Teller will join runners and walkers for the National Stroke Association’s Comeback Trail 5K on Oct. 21 at Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, N.Y. She formed a team called Different Strokes.

“I’m doing it because I can,” she said. “Last year I could barely walk. Now I’m walking three miles most days.”

The National Stroke Association's Comeback Trail 5K walk/fun run starts at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 21 at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, N.Y. To register, visit

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