GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Green Bay area’s Community Stroke Day is a time for stroke survivors and their families to come together to share support and camaraderie with others who are living life after a stroke.  We caught up with Luxemburg’s Jim and Denise Marach after they attended their first Community Stroke Day.

Jim Marach’s got one beautiful view of Lake Michigan and a comfy spot to sit and enjoy it. However, that doesn’t mean this stroke survivor spends much time just sitting around. Marach’s got too much work to do.

Marach’s wife, Denise, says Jim has worked hard at his stroke recovery from day one.

“He was so determined and everything they asked him to do he did,” she said. “He walks now, he can go up and down steps. He also sees a personal trainer once a week.”

Marach also works with Karen Floriano-Heimerl, a speech and language pathologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

“When I first met Jim, he had very few words,” Floriano-Heimerl recalled. “If you think of a computer program, it’s like there’s a glitch in it, but that program can still run. Even though Jim is thinking the whole time about what he wants to say, and he knows what he wants to say, he can’t produce it.”

Marach has made tremendous progress both in speech and mobility.

“When he first got home, he used a wheelchair for about a week and then he was done with that,” Denise explained.

So much so, that he and Denise felt comfortable attending Community Stroke Day, held this year at the Automobile Gallery in Green Bay.

“What was so great about it was that everybody there was in the same boat,” Denise said.

Five area hospitals collaborate to hold Community Stroke Day each year to provide the kind of support only those who’ve been through it can offer.

“I think the support is tremendous,” said Floriano-Heimerl. “We have an opportunity for the care partners to go and talk by themselves as a group and then the stroke survivors speak as a group. So, they each have the opportunity to talk about struggles and questions, as well as triumphs that they’ve experienced.”

Floriano-Heimerl says that kind of support is key to stroke recovery.

“But you can’t go through it alone,” Floriano-Heimerl continued. “As a stroke survivor or a care partner, you have to have a support system. I think that’s a necessity.”

As for Marach, he attributes his progress to attitude…

“He once said to me, ‘In every situation, we can be bitter, or we can be better. If we choose better, every day goes better,’” Denise recalled.

…and never giving up.

“Hope,” Jim said. “Yeah, hope.”

Marach’s next goal?  He wants to get back to driving, which may be why he was eyeing up that Ferrari at the Automobile Gallery!

If you’d like to find out your risk for having a stroke, go to to take an online stroke assessment.