YESS Foundation

Young Empowered Stroke Survivors...Reminding you that YOU CAN

Our Mission

Founded in 2019, YESS’ mission is to champion and empower Young Stroke Survivors and their families on the journey to reclaim a fulfilling life. As young stroke survivors, we face a unique recovery. Not only are we not well understood as patients, we are forever impacted and face distinct challenges as parents, spouses, and professionals in the prime of our lives. Stroke recovery is a true process requiring grit, dedication, guidance, and support to address our unique medical, physical, and emotional needs. Our recoveries are dynamic and require a drastic shift in priorities and routines as we, now patients, maneuver through endless therapy sessions, doctor appointments, complicated logistics and potential financial hardship. Our family dynamics shift as our loved ones, now caregivers, manage new roles and responsibilities to maintain the family while supporting us on our road to recovery. Recovery truly takes a village and YESS stands alongside patients and families as they navigate the recovery process, the medical system, the complex logistics, and financial struggles. YESS provides wraparound services, bridges gaps and removes barriers so that you, as a strong survivor, can focus on what is most important, an empowered recovery!

Our Stories

Ray Forsythe's Story

Stroke can happen to anyone! Hi, my name is Ray Forsythe. Every child has a dream. Well mine was to be a Professional Football player for the National Football League. I knew this would be a tall task. I knew the amount of preparation it would take. to become a Professional Football Player for the NFL. First, I had to tackle the college level in my quest at Kent State University and the University of Central Florida. I finished a decorated collegiate career, that landed me a NFL contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, NFL World Football League and the Orlando Predators of the AFL. All my hard work and preparation paid off.

At the young age of 41, I was at the top of my career in the Automotive Luxury Industry. I was the General Manager for Mercedes Benz, General Motors, Ferrari, and Maserati. I had a ischemic stroke, located in the Central Brain Stem. My wife was pregnant with baby number 6! Brynn Forsythe 24, Stone Forsythe 17, Hawke Forsythe 14, Grace Desmond 13, Jaxon Forsythe 2, and Harrison Forsythe, unborn!

After being discharged, the competitive side of me said, “ This will be easy to rehab.” I was prepared to do whatever it takes to get back to work. My wife was a stay at home mom full time. Now, the roles would be reversed. Being a one income family, now we had to face the obstacles like daycare and lodging for weekend visits from the family. Where would the next meal come from? How am I going to get to and from the outpatient facility? How would I navigate important doctor appointments? How do I start the process of disability? These are just a few obstacles that I had to face.

The healthcare system didn’t speak of any of this? I was overwhelmed and found myself worried about the things I couldn’t control. My focus on stroke recovery now became secondary.

My new motivation is now making sure that the next Stroke Survivor does not travel down this road. Rachel and I, both lived this nightmare as Young Empowered Stroke Survivors by establishing this foundation for other Stroke Survivors. Let’s take the unknown Stroke Survivor Journey with you! YESS, is reminding you that you can! We are here to help you and the care givers by keeping you focused and the only worry you have is YESS!!

Ray Forsythe
Rachel Groves

Rachel Groves' Story

I was only 32 in 2016 when I had a bilateral vestibular stroke losing my sight, my speech, and my motor control on both sides of my body. with two young children, ages 4 years and 1 1/2 years, I had a lot of questions about how to manage life that was now suddenly very different. My family and I began looking for information, advice, and support for stroke survivors in my age group who were facing similar parenting, work, relational, and social challenges. But we couldn’t find much. As a younger survivor juggling a growing career, a young family, a marriage, and other issues it made my experience and recovery needs very different. What I found was that the local support, therapy, care, and information available was geared toward older survivors. As a younger survivor, I faced different issues and had nowhere to turn. YESS is prepared to fill this gap.

Read more of her story...

Rachel Groves