When Mike King had a stroke at the age of 46 nearly two years ago, his life and the life of his family radically changed.
The stoke left him unable to work, said his wife, Priscilla, and there are myriad other tasks around the house, such as mowing the grass and helping their daughters with homework, that he was no longer able to help with.
Because the Augusta Brain Injury Support Group was so important to Mike’s recovery, the couple planned to walk in this Saturday’s fourth annual Brain Injury Awareness Walk from 10 a.m. to noon at the Columbia County Amphitheater behind the library in Evans.
When Mike passed away last week from a heart attack, though, Saturday’s walk became a memorial.
“They are a beautiful family and he will be dearly missed,” said Patty Goolsby, a program director with NeuroRestorative Georgia, one of the organizers for the walk along with Walton Foundation for Independence and the Brain Injury Association of Georgia. “The walk will be dedicated to (him) and his family, ‘Team King.’”
The adjustment to the Kings’ life post-stroke was eased by their involvement in the Augusta Brain Injury Support Group, a beneficiary of the walk.
“The support group has held our family together at many pivotal moments. It’s a journey, and there are moments when you feel like you are in the deepest valley,” Priscilla said. “You have people who will listen to what’s going on, offer advice, or tell you what it was like for them. Then, there are moments when you feel like you have reached the top of a mountain after a long, hard struggle, and you have people there to cheer you on and love on you.”
Organizers hope about 250 people participate this year, Goolsby said. Participants can walk, run or roll any distance during the event, which “encourages walkers to set personal distance goals – similar to the individual goals that stroke and brain injury survivors set for themselves during recovery,” according to a news release.
Registration for the walk costs $20, or $10 for brain injury survivors, and includes a T-shirt and lunch. To sign up or for more information, call Goolsby at (706) 829-0370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Register online at www.walk.kintera.org.