Kate Adamson’s amazing story is one of overcoming Locked-in Syndrome, and turning what could have been a devastating and deadly event – a double pontine stroke that should have killed her – into a mission to serve and enhance the lives of others who deal with any form of paralysis, physical, emotional, financial.

Today, Kate is a stroke survivor, an inspirational speaker, and a licensed medical Social Worker. Using the lessons learned from her successful battle with paralysis, she coaches, counsels and inspires individuals, audiences and agencies to move past paralysis to personal and professional power.

What happened? Why is she qualified to do this?  Her MSW? Yes and no. Her life? Yes.  On June 29, 1995, Kate’s peaceful, predictable, even privileged life suddenly became a life-and-death battle to survive the devastating effects of stroke.  She did survive – and it’s a wonderful story; however, it’s not the end of the story. Not satisfied with “mere survival” – but determined to achieve more – then not satisfied with her own success – but determined to help others succeed.  The results of her life and the successes achieved by those she serves prove that paralysis is not powerlessness.

Within minutes of suffering her stroke, Kate appeared dead. Except for a faint heartbeat, she certainly seemed to be. But she was very much alive! It was as if she was locked in a glass coffin, aware of everything going on around her, unable to communicate – at all.

She desperately tried to find a way to let others know she was alive. Days passed. Then she discovered she could blink. She could do two things – only two: She could think and she could blink. That’s all. But it was enough. She communicated by blinking out letters on an alphabet chart. Enlisting the help of professionals who now realized she was alive and aware, she began her long slow journey back to life.

Now let’s fast forward 20 years.

Earning her MSW after her stroke recovery and moving on to becoming a licensed medical Social Worker, this determined survivor of Locked-in Syndrome shares with audiences everywhere her incredible story of recovery. With wit, humor and great “audience-interactive proof” she demonstrates to professional and medical audiences that paralysis is not powerlessness and they can indeed achieve the apparently impossible by focusing on the possible – for themselves and those under their charge.

Kate’s story was the subject of a major fundraising film produced by the American Heart Association. She served as a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. She has been featured in national magazines including Redbook, Prevention, Caregiver, and Stroke Connection. She has appeared on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, The Bill O’Reilly Factor, The Abrams Report, MSNBC, ABC, and NBC.

Her inspiring and entertaining presentation, “One Hand Clapping: Paralyzed but not Powerless,” is easily customized to address various audiences and conference themes.

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Kate was wonderful! She presented an outstanding inspirational program for our Neuroscience Lecture. Kate is a lovely person and couldn’t have been kinder to work with. I thank you so much for your work and helping us line up Kate. I highly recommend her. Our doctors were pleased, the organization was pleased and I was thrilled with the outcome. Looking forward to working with you again.
– Sally Buchholtz, Community Education Specialist, Corporate Communications & Marketing, ProHealth Care, Waukesha, WI

Booksby Kate Adamson

Paralyzed But Not Powerless: Kate's Journey Revisited

For Meeting Planners

Other topics Kate Adamson talks about:

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