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Stroke Victims Aren't Always Among the Elderly

Updated on April 14, 2017

Sabin Suffers a Stroke - With No Health-Care Coverage

Sabin, at 33, had his whole life ahead of him.  He had slaved away as a photographer, paying his dues along with his taxes.  He had elevated his status within the industry, allowing his hard work and professional excellence to build a name for himself.  So, finally able to afford a home and a normal life-style for himself, he did the responsible thing and applied for health insurance. 

Sabin was young and healthy, and wasn't able to afford health insurance up to that point in his life. However, now he had to take his success and leverage it into a responsible foundation for the future, which included health insurance. That is when the unthinkable happened. He was struck by one of the most disastrous, and naturally occurring, traumas that can happen to the human body. He suffered a stroke, in the prime of his life, and his newly acquired health-care coverage was still in its grace period - he had no health-care coverage.

Scared and Vulnerable
Scared and Vulnerable

Not All In His Head

For Sabin Orr, having a stroke at age 33 was only the beginning...

The day that Sabin Orr received his letter of acceptance for his health insurance provider application was supposed be a happy milestone in his life. It was supposed to be the first day of the rest of his life where he had peace of mind that his health-care coverage was secure.  Getting sick was supposed to no longer be an expensive venture.  Unfortunately it turned out not to be the case.  This was due to the fact that it was also the day that Sabin, at age 33, would also suffer a life-changing stroke.

At age 33, having a stroke is not even a thought in the mind of the average person.  It is something that you hear about on television, occurring to a grandparent, or to an elderly friend or neighbor.  However, the thought of having a stroke yourself not only unthinkable, but an impossibility.  At this age, most of us are beginning to see the fruits of our labors.  We are buying homes, having children, paying off school loans, and finally buying items of luxury instead of items of necessity.  Things which were out of our reach as young adults are finally becoming a possibility.  In fact, the possibilities within our lives are growing along with our successes.

For Sabin, this is where his mind was at on this fateful day.  He too was focused on his own professional successes. His thoughts were upon ensuring his clients were happy, and that he would continue to provide them with the highest quality when it came to his work.  His mind was occupied with photo shoots, appointments, daily tasks within his life, friends, and family.  However, beneath all of these normal thought processes, his brain was about to experience the most traumatic experience that a brain can experience throughout its entire existence. Sabin was about to have a stroke.

Sabin was in the prime of his life as a healthy young man. Sabin frequently played golf and exercised regularly. He did occasionally have a steak or a hamburger in his diet, but ate a well balanced diet overall. All of Sabin's friends and family would describe him as extremely healthy, and he was. With him paying so much attention to his body, and the food that he ate, he was by far bypassing the average American when it came to being physically fit and healthy. So, what went wrong?

Truthfully, to this day, we don't know. The day of Sabin's stroke, he actually managed to drive himself to the hospital. The entire experience was excruciating, even for a young and healthy man like Sabin. The fact that he managed to overcome all of the symptoms that the stroke was causing him to experience, and to get himself to the hospital in once piece, is a miracle in of itself. His motivation not to call an ambulance - the cost. Upon arriving, he was barely able to communicate to the ER nurse, and she was having a problem with properly diagnosing his symptoms because of it. Throughout the night, he underwent a barrage of tests which eventually led to an MRI showing the lesions that his stroke had created in his brain. However, as clear as the result was, the cause of his stroke was nowhere to be found.

The next few weeks were trying. He was dealing with the long-term physical affects of the stroke, and was told that it would take six to nine months of "re-training" his brain. His motor skills, and speech were affected and were at only a fraction of their ability pre-stroke. With the continued head-aches and pains coming and going, it was imperative to find the cause of the stroke to see if there was a viable solution. He went to numerous medical facilities, and underwent every test under the sun which would show any indication of abnormalities which can cause a stroke. The end result - not a single doctor could identify anything that could have caused Sabin's stroke.

This was not the only problem. Throughout Sabin's trials and tribulations, yet another shadow was hulking in the corner - growing larger with every hospital visit, consult, and test. In the back of Sabin's mind, he was wondering how he was going to pay for all of this. The stroke had occurred before his newly acquired medical coverage took affect; the stroke and all medical costs associated with it were all now categorized as a pre-existing condition. All of Sabin's hard work and effort to put him to where he was was being undone right before his very eyes. It was completely unclear to him how he was going to be able to cope with the growing costs, and the steps he would need to take in order to repay them. Thoughts of moving back in with his parents, or moving in with his brother, were flashing into his mind.

However, there was something else brewing which Sabin was unaware of. When Sabin notified his family that he was in the hospital, they immediately called family and some of his closest friends so that they could visit him. Those people notified other friends of his - recent friends all the way back to friends from high school and grade school. The sudden and devastating impact that the stroke had made upon his life had also created something else. A wave of concern, fueled by all of the positive impact that he had made upon others over the duration of his life, was spreading across the country. This wave of friends, having heard the news of Sabin's plight, all had one question in common - What can I do to help?

This common question amongst all of his friends caused a chain-reaction. Sabin's friends began collaborating amongst themselves, with his family, and even later on with Sabin, regarding what they could do to help. Sabin began thinking about his situation, and did something truly remarkable - he thought about how he could help other young stroke victims, and other people suffering life changing illnesses without insurance, and began talking to friends and family about starting a non-profit organization to do so. Sabin, suffering a stroke and with a mountain of health-care debt in front of him, was worried about helping others! Friends and family expressed their admiration of his unselfish desires. However, they also reminded him that his problems needed to be solved first - it was necessary to get Sabin back to the state his life was in before suffering a stroke without health insurance. Then, once that was accomplished, they could turn their energies towards helping Sabin to help others. This was important because there would then be proof that it could be done. If Sabin could have his life returned to normal - then it could be done for others as well!

Several fund-raising events were scheduled and held across the country. Friends were helping Sabin to get himself organized so that he could keep his own medical history and progress with solving his health and health-care issues via a blog - Sabin's Stroke of Genius. This allowed him to keep all of his friends and family updated on his progress, as well as to educate others regarding his plight. It also allowed friends and family to send people somewhere in order for them to make donations towards paying down Sabin's growing medical bills. With everyone's combined efforts, so far almost $7,000.00 has been raised through Sabin's Stroke of Genius website, and around $13,000.00 was raised through the various fund-raisers organized by Sabin's friends and family. However, with initial estimations of his total medical costs being around $100,000.00, there is still a great deal of money yet to be raised. And, while $100,000.00 may seem like a huge amount of money, there is still hope. If 10,000 people can give $10, or if over 100,000 people can donate only $1, Sabin's medical bills can be paid outright!

Young Stroke Survivor Story

Keeping Hope Alive & Moving Forward

Sabin is continuing his fight to overcome his stroke and working towards solving his health-care cost issues.

While only less than 20% of Sabin's medical costs have been raised by family and friends, Sabin is keeping a positive outlook for the future. He is now able to work again, which allows him to begin making contributions himself towards his medical bills, not to mention being able to pay for his normal costs of living again. As a photographer, his job may not seem stressful to some people, but he is still finding himself extremely fatigued by the end of his work-day. Yet, he does not allow this to deter him from doing what he knows is right - and that is to help himself before letting others to provide help for him. He is earning his right to have a bright future through sheer hard-work and determination!

Sabin's sole source of income is through his work as a photographer. Sabin gets hired as a private photographer to do photo shoots for magazines, marketing firms, businesses, or individuals. His portfolio can be found at Orr Digital Photography. Be sure to pass on the website to any business owners that are looking for a photographer's services. As you can see, he is extremely versatile when it comes to the needs of his clients. He can assist you with whatever specific project you have in mind, or can even offer his services in regards to assisting regarding the creative aspect of your needs. While Sabin is currently a Las Vegas resident, he is definitely capable of working with clients all over the country.

Sabin's long term goals? Once Sabin is able to conquer his current health and health-care cost issues, he plans on turning Sabin's Stroke of Genius into a tool for others to use in the same way. He would like to commemorate his success by starting a non-profit organization, allowing him and his family to help others with the same or similar issues which he is experiencing. Hopefully, he will be able to ensure that the next person who goes through a life-changing illness without health-care coverage will have needed help, as not everyone will have family and friends capable of stepping up to assist them. He will continue to fight the good fight, and showing others that they can deal with and conquer the biggest of problems that life may throw at them!

Be sure to share your own personal healthcare nightmare, and show your support for Sabin by posting your thoughts and feelings.

Show Your Support!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I had a stroke when I was fairly young and at the time was 9 weeks pregnant with my now 9 1/2 yr old son (who is non verbal and as severe autism). I've often found myself struggling with memory....trying to remember what happened yesterday seems to be a struggle, along with my mind creating things that people tell me "never happened". This drives me absolutely nutty...talk about stress & anxiety. As relief I find myself researching tons of random things even "just for fun", news stories, autism, pets, strokes, etc. I often find myself depressed or worried (it's quite the world to try to live in).

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I suffered at stroke at 19 (5 years ago) and today by significant other asked me if some of the traumatic memories that I was recounting to him could be confabulations due to my stroke. While I know that the memories are real, I was wondering what you describe as "false memories".

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: my husband age66 has had a massive stroke he was out several days brain swelled 8.5 brain shifted 1 1/2.he had to have trache he weighed 216 lbs ,now he weighs 164lbs.his left side still effected had 3 seisures,defibulator/pasemaker,in /out rehabs.but no use yet .finally got a mobile chair,i had to leave my job to be home to take care of him.which i am able,but he is 24/7 care.i still need to work , but cant afford to hire help..we do need help!!if anyone knows of how we could get help with a minivan to haul mobile chair, i would appreciate it.start up more organization for stroke victums..we all do need health ins.but it is getting out of hand.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      My 33 yr old wife had a massive stroke 2 years ago, 1 week after the birth of our first child.

      At first prognosis was horrible, crainiotomy, coma, paralyses on rt side, loss of speech but thankfully she is 85% better. Her right arm is very week and no real movement in her right hand. Her toes started curling 6 months into therapy which has since than been causing her extreme pain whenever she walks (but she has learned to live with it). I feel for you Sabin, our medical costs ended at 1 million with Aetna coverage (at the time) was fantastic and covered 98% of it. (now new medical conversion Aetna policy is costing us a lot). Sounds like you are back to work and on route to a 100% recovery. I am sure you have done this already, but now when bills come (high deductable etc) I always call whoever sent it and tell them our story and how difficult things are. 95% of the time I get credited or reduced anywhere from 20-100% of the bill. Some kind people out there.

      All the best

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I too have FMD and had stents inserted into my Reno Arteries. However, can one have FMD in more than one place, such as the caroid or other places. I ask becuse my doctors only looked at the kidneys and I am dizzy, have ringing in my ears, no headaches but an occational pain in the back of my head and neck pain. Thank you for this information, The article was wonderful.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Just came across Sabin's story. I too am a stroke victim and 40 yrs old. I'm an American working in India and was just dischared a week ago after a major thrombus in my brain. I was extremly active, cycling 150 miles a week and was reduced to complete paralysis and loss of speech. Thankfully, I have only a slight speech impediment now. Keep you're spirits up no matter what, there are others here just like you.

    • PrometheusIV profile image
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      PrometheusIV 6 years ago

      @therealstig86: Considering that's just a mere 8 years down the road from me, I definitely know what you mean.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I keep wondering if anyone that has had a stroke has also had what I call, "false memories". These Events could not have occurred, yet they seem so real. I have lost memory of events that Im told occurred, Yet I have memories of things that could not have occurred.

    • therealstig86 profile image

      therealstig86 6 years ago

      Scary stuff. My grandad has just suffered a stroke - bad news and my dads friend just died form one at 43! nasty.

    • PrometheusIV profile image
      Author

      PrometheusIV 7 years ago

      Sorry to hear that Cliff... I am working to help Sabin to pay for his hospital bills. Perhaps you can join us in trying to raise awareness of this issue to the rest of the nation?

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I suffered a devastating stroke at 48. I am able to walk and talk now, but I can't see very well. I have double vision. One of my eyes is cocked outward in the stereotypical stroke positing. Everything is very difficult for me: walking, eating, and of course, I have to stop, look, and spell check every thing I type. The insurance company is doing everything they can not to pay any of my expenses even though I paid their premiums. So, I am going without health insurance. Unfortunately, it can happen to you too..