On the evening of Feb. 22, one Elmhurst family's course changed in a way they never could have imagined.
Immaculate Conception Grade School and York High School dad, Russ Dale, went to pick up his daughter, Kathryn, from an Irish dance class. While seated in his parked car, he suffered a severe stroke. Fortunately, two of his three sons, Justin and Christian Dale, were with him, and Justin phoned his mother, Kathy, for help.
Paramedics arrived quickly and Russ received rapid treatment, first at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital and then at Central DuPage Hospital. The doctors removed a blood clot in his brain.
Since February, the avid runner who finished the Chicago Marathon just last fall, has required ongoing physical, speech and occupational therapy. His journey has taken him from Central DuPage Hospital to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to ManorCare of Hinsdale. After nearly three months, Russ recently returned home and now has begun an intensive outpatient rehabilitation schedule.
It may sound like Russ is nearing the finish line in his recovery. Unfortunately, this race is far from over and could take years to finish. It is unclear what the finish line will look like for Russ, a former self-employed software developer. Due to the severity and the location of the left brain stroke, while medically fit, Russ has non-fluent aphasia, apraxia and hemiparesis. In layman’s terms, aphasia is a loss of words, but not intelligence.
Russ has been diagnosed with Broca’s aphasia, which is the inability to produce written or oral language. He also is working to recover the full ability to understand spoken and written word. Russ knows what he wants to say, but he must relearn how to say it. Intensive speech therapy has been ongoing. His right side also was initially paralyzed, but over the past three months, with extensive therapy, Russ is now walking with a cane and is regaining some movement in his shoulder, bicep and even his fingers. To this day, the cause of Russ Dale’s stroke remains a mystery. At some point in the near future, Russ will have additional testing to further investigate the cause.
Throughout the emotional ups and downs, Kathy has overseen his care, managed the deluge of medical bills, worked her full-time job and has continued to maintain the daily schedules of her four children, ages 8 to 15. She has not done this alone. The compassion, assistance and prayers of Kathy’s family and friends, the Immaculate Conception Grade School and IC Parish community, the York High School community, the Dale’s Tuxedo Park neighborhood, Kathy’s employer and even complete strangers in the Elmhurst community has been overwhelming. Kathy said the outpouring of support has kept her family going and she cannot ever properly express her gratitude.
Although the uphill climb for Russ continues, there is a promising opportunity on the horizon. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has an intensive aphasia therapy program, a month-long immersion course focused on enhancing Russ’s ability to communicate. Given his marathoner’s work ethic and determination, his therapists believe he is an ideal candidate for this program. But the cost of participating in this program is exorbitant—more than $20,000—and the out-of-pocket expense for Russ to continue rehabilitation in the many months to come is overwhelming.
So, friends of the Dale Family are hosting a fund-raiser from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, June 1, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 537 S. York. Any and all are invited to enjoy a fun night out with great company, a live band, appetizers, cash bar and other fun surprises. The band, CAM will be rocking as attendees party with a purpose.
A $20 donation will be collected at the door to cover the cost of the event and at-will donations will be accepted. In addition, there will be a silent auction and raffle prizes offered.
Anyone who cannot attend but would like to contribute can send a check to Dale Trust 2012, c/o Chase Bank, 163 N. York Rd., Elmhurst, IL 60126. For more information, please contact Kathy Dale’s sister, Betsy Cammarata at (773) 744-4102 or visit this website.
This information was provided by a staff member at Immaculate Conception Grade School.