AHF was founded in 1997 as the result of a personal experience of an aphasia survivor and his caregivers. After consulting professionals and researching available literature, they found it very difficult to obtain even the simplest information on aphasia. This was shocking after realizing that millions of Americans suffer from this disorder each year. The founding family was fortunate that they had the resources to find the news, information and therapies necessary to help their family member. However, the family quickly realized that there are countless families that live with this nightmare everyday, and are left with the feeling that there is no HOPE in sight. It was this thought that lead them to start the Aphasia Hope Foundation in order to share with survivors and caregivers that they can have a good quality of life. “In the course of our experience with aphasia-we learned that many people like us didn’t know what it was or how to respond to it. That’s why we started the Aphasia Hope Foundation- to educate and inform people about the facts of aphasia, the resources available, and the advances being made.”-Judi Stradinger, Executive Director
Aphasia Hope Foundation is a public 501(c) 3 non-profit foundation that has a two-fold mission: (1) to promote research into the prevention and cure of aphasia and (2) to ensure all survivors of aphasia and their caregivers are aware of and have access to the best possible treatments available. The Foundation was started with the goal of gathering news, research, therapies, and experiences regarding Aphasia, and sharing this information with the families that desperately needed it. Today, with the creation of our website, we are the largest collaborative online resource for aphasia. Additionally, we have capitalized on the opportunity to increase awareness about this disorder – both through national media and in Washington D.C. Despite all of the worthwhile things we have been able to accomplish, we are aware that our fight is just now beginning.
Aphasia currently affects the daily lives of over one million Americans- more than Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Despite its prevalence in our country, Aphasia remains one of the most neglected priorities in our nation today. This is a heartbreaking fact, as most of these survivors will never learn that there is HOPE for those suffering from this disorder. While these statistics are useful, there is still more work to be done. Updated statistics and continued research are essential to defining the best therapies relating to aphasia. This information is also crucial in gaining further support from the medical and professional community, as well as insurance providers and Medicare. Today, The Aphasia Hope Foundation is dedicated to aiding those suffering from this life changing disorder. Through our various programs, we strive to foster education, research, and national awareness toward this national epidemic.
Aphasia Hope has made many landmark accomplishments over the past eight years. In 1998 and 1999, planning and development were the key initiatives of AHF. In early 2000, plans for the initial fundraising drive were set. The following May, AHF hired its first full time employee and redesigned its web site. AHF received the rights to stream portions of two video clips produced about aphasia. In recent years, representatives from AHF met with several Directors at the NIH, Congress, and several members of the Federal Health Agencies on two separate occasions. As a result of these two trips, AHF has created a national political advocacy network (AHF Network) to help address the lack of research, treatment standards, and general awareness about aphasia. Aphasia Hope has lobbied Congressional leaders to include Aphasia research as part of the 2002 and 2004 Senate Appropriations Bill Reports. In 2002, Aphasia Hope created a Professional Panel Series. This Panel consists of the leading Aphasia professionals who are available via our website to answer questions and give advice free of charge to all who visit the site. These postings represent the best collection of real-world experiences dealing with this disorder. It is our goal to convert this data into powerful information to help guide future Aphasia research and training. Our most recent accomplishment involves the completion of an Aphasia curriculum which is available on the website. This curriculum offers tips, advice, and resources for those survivors and/or caregivers who might need additional help. This curriculum is offered free of charge to anyone who is interested.
After much hard work, discipline, support and help from family and caregivers, an aphasia survivor CAN live a normal life. Aphasia Hope knows this because the founding family has experienced this first hand. There will be some bumps in your road to recovery, but don’t give up HOPE.