Carol Dow-Richards is a woman whose passion was born of incredible emotional pain no mother would want to endure. When her son had a stroke at the age of ten, he was unable to speak, read or write and in a wheelchair. She felt incredibly isolated and confused. It was years before her family even met another with aphasia. Today, she uses the pain her family endured to passionately deliver services to connect families, share information and strategies, and offer programs to help end the isolation.
Dow-Richards helped start Aphasia Recovery Connection, to serve people who suffer language disabilities post-stroke or brain injury.
Up to 38 percent of stroke survivors suffer from this invisible disability.
ARC's mission is to deliver compassionate support services to improve the quality of life for people recovering from aphasia and their families and friends. ARC is committed to help end the isolation that aphasia brings. ARC embodies the values of collaboration, compassion, dignity and acceptance. ARC delivers this mission with passion, “we are families helping families.”
Every week, Dow-Richards’ volunteer service at Aphasia Recovery Connection reaches 10,000-20,000 stroke survivors, families and professionals dealing with this devastating–and underserved–language disability called aphasia. ARC won the impact RAISE award from the National Stroke Association for their innovative activities and programs that she’s developed as a volunteer such as their innovative ARC at Learning Sea Cruises and Aphasia U Boot Camp.
People with aphasia are often isolated and many face depression. Dow-Richards’s innovative approach started simply through Facebook. ARC added video conferencing to connect people face to face and help guide others struggling with communication. The nonprofit is now the largest online support service for people with aphasia and has eight groups offering social connection as well as video calls where people can practice communication skills. She raises awareness by designing free shareable posters that often have a reach of over 3,000.
When a woman gives of herself selfishly to an underserved population, she creates worth. This mother took a painful journey and makes the journey easier for others. She gives without pay – she enriches the world rather than herself. Dow-Richards has volunteered thousands of hours to help make the world a better place. When a woman is passionate and empowers others, like Dow-Richards- she creates worth.