She’s a West Virginia lawmaker, also president of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, as-well-as a wife and mother of three.
Erikka Storch takes good care of her health. Yet on August 26, 2016, the 45-year-old Storch had a stroke that paralyzed her right arm and leg, and affected her speech.
But now she’s back on the job, fully recovered, and has a vital message to share.
Storch had just finished working out at the Ryan Ferns Health Plex.
She was in the women’s locker room, and remembers not being able to move her right arm.
Storch said she started to wash her hands but her arm wouldn’t work.
“It was just weird to tell it to move and it wouldn’t move,” said Storch.
A woman in the shower heard her hit the floor.
She ran out in a towel and alerted the owner.
“She moved her left leg just fine, but when it got to her right leg there was no movement. You know I started to ask her about her arm, her hand. I asked her to squeeze my hand. She wasn’t able to, of course,” said Ferns.
She was rushed to a local hospital, where she was given clot-busting medicine, and then flown to UPMC in Pittsburgh where the clot was removed by cauterization.
And then she felt immediate relief.
“I felt great. And then they asked me to move my arm and I could move it,” said Storch.
“That’s the miracle of the whole thing. You get treatment early and you have a very rapid return of function,” said Ferns.
The signs of a stroke are F-A-S-T: Face, Arm, Speech, and Time.
Now she urges everyone to know the signs and act quickly.
But in her case, there’s still a mystery.
The risk factors are a history of smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet.
“She’s never smoked in her life, she was already participating in exercise in fact it was the reason she was here and she has an immaculate diet,” said Ferns.
“I get frustrated when I read that thing that says that 80% can be prevented. But then they can’t really tell me how to prevent it because you know I’m pretty much, you know, I’m a healthy candidate so it shouldn’t have been there. But I guess everybody can have a fluke, so I’ve found my fluke,” said Storch.