Posted by Lynn Bronikowski Feb 21 2017
Nicki Buckmon ran three miles a day, enjoyed working out in the gym, maintained a healthy weight and diet and at 45 was the picture of health.
But in July 2015 she experienced a stroke and in November that same year had open heart surgery to repair a leaking aortic valve. She experienced a second stroke in June 2016. Months of physical therapy would follow. Frequent headaches and balance issues continue to be a part of her life.
“I’m learning how to manage on a daily basis because at first I didn’t know how to function,” said Buckmon, who had to give up her career as a hair stylist in Bowie, Md. “I’m recovering well but it will be awhile before I am back to being the runner and workout queen I once was.”
Buckmon now has set her sights on walking with the National Stroke Association when it hosts its Comeback Trail 5K walk and fun run at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Plaza in Washington D.C. on April 22. She’s even formed a team, Comeback Stride with Nicki, who will walk with her.
“It means so much to me to have people supporting me on this walk,” said Buckmon. “People don’t realize what you go through and how it changes your life when you have a stroke. We just have to get out in the community and advocate for stroke.”
Buckmon is grateful to her 22-year-old daughter Wittany Brown, who took off a year from college to help her mom. Buckmon’s sister, Phyllis Covington, told her early on, “Anything you need, I’m here for you.” And her husband, Louis Buckmon, has been at her side. Buckmon also attends a stroke support group at a local hospital.
“When I was doing my therapy I just wouldn’t give up,” said Buckmon. “I would keep going on, keep pushing even though every day was a struggle.”
At 47, she has a thoughtful perspective on life.
“I can’t sweat the small things anymore,” she said. “I just try to cope with my new normal and look forward to doing some of the things I love again. Who knows? Maybe next year I’ll run the Comeback Trail.”
To register for the Comeback Trail 5K walk and fun run at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Plaza in Washington, D.C. on April 22, visit www.comebacktrail.org. To join NIcki Buckmon's team or donate to her fundraising efforts visit her page.
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