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Freedom Ride

Posted by Lynn Bronikowski Feb 09 2017

After Bill Hrncir experienced a stroke in 2006 he and his wife, Deedee, thought about bringing together a small group of stroke survivors to share experiences over coffee in their small town of Laredo, Texas.

Their idea grew and has turned into the Laredo Stroke Support Group which meets several times a week at the San Martin de Porres Church Family Life Center offering everything from yoga, music, gardening, exercises and strength training to art, tennis, a walking group and life skills classes.

“We started with four members and now have more than 40 members,” said Bill, who spent three months in rehab following his stroke and today coaches the stroke survivors triking group which rides recumbent bicycles. “It means freedom to be able to ride.”

Bill was the picture of health at age 47 when he collapsed on a running trail in Austin, Texas, and was found by another runner who called 9-1-1.

“He had none of the risk factors for stroke,” said Deedee. “He’s always been real athletic, running and biking competitively.”

In the past three years, Bill has given 55 speeches to colleges and civic organizations to raise awareness for stroke. Members of the stroke support group visit stroke patients in hospitals to lend support.

“Doctors told me Bill would never walk or talk again, but, of course, they didn’t know who they were dealing with,” said Deedee. “He wanted to prove everybody wrong and broke records.”

Bill and members of the stroke support group will be participating in the Heart of Texas Recumbent Rally & Rodeo at Easy Street Recumbents in Austin Feb. 24 to 26. The weekend includes a Laid Back Social, Recumbent University, a Texas-style rodeo with several events and a raffle drawing benefiting the National Stroke Association.

“This is the first time the stroke support group is participating,” said Bill, whose support group owns three recumbent bikes that they purchased from Easy Street.

“My customers love cycling but can’t always ride their bicycle anymore so they turn to recumbents,” said Mike Librik, who opened Easy Street 20 years ago. “Anybody can empower themselves using so little and our rodeo brings people together for a fun weekend.”

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