Her husband, Scott, suffered a stroke on July 15, 2009, and passed away. What made it even sadder is he left behind a young son, Tyler, not yet two.
Lots of crying. Lots of grieving.
Let me tell you a bit about stroke. It's not like picking a car or a house or a dress or a suit. Ask survivors and caretakers. Stroke picks you.
All of a sudden you're in the club and the questions begin. "How'd I get here?," is a good first one.
What Deanna did next is why I think she's so special. She could have just gone away but she didn't do that.
Stroke awareness was near and dear to her heart so she began with her first event, a charity golf tournament, that not only helped with that awareness but raised $10,000 for the National Stroke Association.
That's pretty cool.
It was held in July and if you've ever been in Orlando then... She jokes that the next one will be in the winter.
That was just the beginning.
Here came the Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation, here came the Galas. The first one was a small but excellent affair. I know, I was there. Here's how it happened. I was at my local grocery store, Publix, and as I was checking out a friend of mine told me about Deanna's upcoming event. I showed up and the rest as they say is history.
That was in 2011.
Boy, it sure has grown.
The latest Gala was held last month in a ballroom filled with about a zillion people. Included was a silent auction and a live auction. All the funds were donated to help in the raising of stroke awareness. You know me, one of my favorite sayings is the more you know, the more you know.
In between there is almost too much to mention.
A family waiting room at Florida Hospital South. A healing location for families of stroke patients being treated by the Neuro Critical Care Unit. Here's the thing, when stroke hits, life can be so hectic, so unworldly, that a safe place, a quiet place, is a good place.
The Foundation knows that.
In that same vein the SCSAF is partnering with the Aphasia House at the University of Central Florida to help with counseling for caretakers. All of a sudden you're a caretaker, wringing your hands and deeply worried, dealing with a stroke will do that to you. They offer help.
Recognizing stroke symptoms is important and with that in mind SCSAF participates in community events like 'Train Orlando.' Held on World Stroke Day Deanna, along with Mayor Buddy Dyer and Florida Hospital, helped to educate the public on what to be on the alert for.
And on and on.
In the meantime Deanna remarried to the wonderful Lucas Marquez and they had a cute, punkin daughter, Olivia, to add to their family.
Look on Deanna's Facebook page and you'll see this quote, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
Her name is Deanna Coopersmith Marquez.
And she is special.
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