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Alumni Bring Their Experience to Stroke Awareness Month

Two alumni, Rick Dunlap and Andrew Asimos, became acquainted while they worked out at the Harris YMCA, in Charlotte, N.C., where Rick is the director of financial development. They got a kick out of the discovery that they’d both graduated from W&L, Rick in 1970 and Andrew in 1984. Last December, the day after one of their conversations at the Y, they met up under more dramatic circumstances, this time at Andrew’s workplace—the Emergency Stroke Care Center at the Carolinas Medical Center.

Rick had experienced a stroke while having dinner with a quick-witted friend, who recognized the symptoms. The ambulance took him to the center, which Andrew directs. “I wasn’t even scheduled to be in the area Rick was in,” Andrew told News 14 Carolina. “I just heard the page and thought I should go over and see if I could help out at all.” Once he got there, he was astonished to find his friend from the YMCA. “I said to everyone in the room, believe it or not, I was speaking to this guy, literally yesterday morning.”

Andrew immediately treated Rick with t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator), a drug that can restore blood flow to the brain. Just three days later, Rick was out of the hospital. “I have seen and experienced and lived a true miracle,” he said in a video produced by the Carolinas HealthCare system.

The friends are telling their saga as part of National Stroke Awareness Month. In addition to the story on the local TV station, they are conducting stroke-awareness clinics at the Y and appear in the succinct but hard-hitting video.