An Evans beauty queen has been traveling throughout the state, including Columbia County, with a message on stroke awareness.
Ashley Foster, 18, the 2005 Miss Augusta, teaches a salsa routine to senior citizens at Brandon Wilde in Evans. She has traveled the state talking about stroke prevention.
Photo by Quandra Collins
Ashley Foster, 18, the 2005 Miss Augusta, has been stressing the importance of stroke prevention by offering health-care information provided by the National Stroke Association, an entity of the American Heart Association.
"My main goal is to reach everyone in our community, teaching them what strokes are, how to respond to them and how to treat them," said Foster, a freshman majoring in biology at the University of Georgia. "Georgia is considered the buckle of the stroke belt, which runs through the Southeast. I think that's because of the way we eat in the South. But we need help on living healthy lifestyles."
Foster met with the county's Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to have May declared as stroke awareness month - one of the many goals she set out to accomplish during her reign.
Before that, she was recognized for her efforts in increasing stroke awareness in the community by state legislators in Atlanta on March 17.
"I just felt so honored today," she said in a recent telephone interview. "It's just amazing. God has definitely blessed me."
In addition to her platform, Foster said, she is working overtime trying to get a bill passed that would allow license plates to have a stroke emblem on them.
"The bill has been read twice in the House, but it hasn't passed all the way," she said, mentioning that the public has to show interest in the bill by writing their legislators. "I've been talking with some legislators, but they have to work on the language of the bill so that it can pass through the committee of transportation."
As she waits for approval, Foster said she's concentrating on raising the level of interest about the subject matter. On March 18, she visited Evans High School to promote more awareness.
If approved, Foster said, she wants the proceeds to go toward a program called Remote Evaluation of Acute Ischemic Stroke, which is advised by Dr. David Hess, the clinical service chief for neurology at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
"We use the Internet to see a patient over video and look at their CT scan and help a small rural hospital make a decision to give the clot-busting drug t-PA," Hess said. "Right now, we don't have any money, but if we got funding that would be great."
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