On December 18, 2012, our mother Agnes suffered a Hemmorhagic stroke. This happens when fatty deposits in arteries break off and travel to the brain, or when poor blood flow from an irregular heartbeat forms a blood clot. Initially, the doctors had explained that Agnes was suffering from dementia. This could not have been further from the truth as she had not exhibited any symptoms prior to that day. The CT scan did not show any damage at that point, however, 24 hours later the blood clot that was forming then broke apart and as a result, Agnes has was left with many deficits. From loss of speech to loss of limb movement, her life has never been the same. Although the past 6 years have been arduous, Agnes's drive and commitment to recovery have been monumental. There have been tremendous obstacles along the way, but with the support of family, as well as her own drive, she has not wavered on her road to recovery
We have learned much on this journey, and in honor of Agnes, we are compelled to bring our knowledge to you from stroke prevention, to awareness, advocacy and advancement in technology. We want to be able to enhance the life of a stroke and traumatic brain injury survivor enhance their resilience to a new life while optimize their mental and physical performance during recovery. Balancing and stabilization of mental, social and spiritual aspect of a survivors life can be tricky, but with our resources and assistance we are here to help. A stroke knows no age and does not discriminate agains race or color. Our foundation prides itself on granting direct to the survivor as well as working hand in hand with institutions. Imagine what it would be like to save a life from this debilitating disease, it's possible because WE CAN HELP PREVENT A STROKE TOGETHER.
Our mission is to reduce the profound impact of stroke by raising awareness of long term physical as well as emotional effects for the survivor, and caregivers through education, emerging technology, innovation, determination and activism.
Our desire is to co-create a world where fewer strokes occur, and to maximize human life with superior long term care, for those affected by a stroke.
Passion – We love what we do and the cause we represent. We are passionate about improving the lives of people affected by stroke and the their loved ones.
Trust - We are determined to be best at what matters most. We push the limits to beat the status quo.
Innovation – We are always learning, striving to bring innovative ways to recovery assisting in provide solutions from standard to holistic ways.
Integrity — We understand the importance of transparency, keeping us honest, authentic and accountable. Communicate fearlessly and build trust.
Commitment - We are committed to continually increasing our knowledge, and lead the way by maximizing our resources to best serve the community.
Most important, have fun and laugh along the way!
Jean Marie Gibbs
Founder / President
Jean Marie is the Founder President of Pathways Stroke Foundation. As an experienced executive and consultant, she is committed to operational excellence within the company. With a background in professional services and corporate business, she has shifted her focus to not-for-profit.
Working for large corporations such as Ralph Lauren, The Limited Corporation, Ann Taylor, as well as her own client staffing company Leading 7th Group, Inc., Jean Marie has developed over 25 years of expertise in Board reporting, performance reporting, project management, sales, business development and marketing.
Over the past 6 years, Jean Marie has submerged herself in a new venture as Independent Patient Advocate. With her mother Agnes suffering many deficits from stroke, Jean Marie has realized that recovery can only happen for a stroke survivor with constant therapy, support of family, friends and community.
With leadership and passion for stroke awareness, the inception of Pathways Stroke Foundation in honor of her mother Agnes is all set to help people fight stroke in a practical, educational, technologically advanced and holistic way.
Christine Szempruch RPA-C
Physicians Assistant Medical Forensic Investigator
Visionary Optometry of Long Island
Susan M. DeMetropolis, M.A. CCC-SLP
Susan M. DeMetropolis, M.A. CCC-SLP is an instructor at Hofstra University in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences. She is completing her PhD at Adelphi University looking at semantic memory skills on a behavioral and neurophysiological level in healthy adults and individuals with Alzheimer disease. She works as a NYS licensed speech-language pathologist in acute care seeing patients post-stroke/CVA, TBI, and neurodegenerative diseases. She holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has presented her research at state, national, and international levels.
Susan began working with Agnes in 2015, when she was overseeing students on the clinical level at the speech language program in Queens College City University of New York. Susan spent three years working with Agnes, proactively guiding her through traditional speech therapies along with incorporating new technology. Susan's professionalism, and knowledge in all areas of speech pathology has become a vital resource for Pathways Stroke Foundation
Christine is a board certified Physicians Assistant with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). After completing her BA in Science from Touro College School of Health Science, she worked as a PA in the emergency room of Southside Hospital in Bayshore New York. Her commitment to her job and staff, as well as her devotion to her patients, garnered her the title of Chief of Emergency Room Physician Assistants. After many years, Christine transitioned into Primary Care for many years as a clinical Physician Assistant until her present position as Medical Forensic Investigator at the Suffolk County New York Medical Examiners office.
With over 35 years of medical experience, Christine's extensive care portfolio has educated patients on cardiovascular and diabetic health which are risk factors for stroke. Her early years as a first responder paramedic with New York City EMS has given her the first hand experience in recognition and treatment of stroke from the onset of symptoms.
With her ever-growing medical knowledge, she has been crucial in the ongoing care of her mother Agnes. Christine has been able to collaborate with doctors to come up with the best on going treatments for continued recovery of her mother. Christine is a vital advisory resource for Pathways Stroke Foundation in assisting, clinicians, therapist and caregivers to create better health practices that are implemented to benefit people living with stroke and traumatic brain injury, their families, health and community services.
Dr. Ceonzo has been in practice for 17 years providing comprehensive eye exams, vision therapy, sports vision, and visual rehabilitation for patients ranging from 4 months old to their 90's. Dr. Ceonzo completed her optometry degree at SUNY College of Optometry where she was mentored by renown head trauma specialist, Neera Kapoor, and earned the Frederick Brock Memorial Award for Outstanding Clinical Performance in Vision Therapy. Dr. Ceonzo then continued her education with a Residency at the Veterans Hospital in Northport, NY, specializing in Head Trauma and Stroke, Visual Rehabilitation, Vision Therapy, and Ocular Disease. After years of being on the staff of the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Northport NY, and years practice in Garden City as well as Staten Island NY, Dr. Ceonzo has finally brought vision therapy to Long Island through her own practice, Visionary Optometry.
Throughout her years of practice, Dr. Ceonzo has lectured to stroke support groups, head trauma survivors, occupational therapists, teachers, nurses and doctors on the importance of visual development and rehabilitation in work, life, and academics.
Dr. Ceonzo's primary aim is to help her patients obtain the best possible vision to remove visual barriers to living their best life.
Independent Personal Advocate
Maureen Whitehill and Jean Marie Gibbs have been friends since 1979. When Agnes suffered a stroke, without hesitation, Maureen spent everyday with Agnes while she was recovering in rehabilitation. Over the past 6 years, Maureen has tirelessly become one of Agnes's greatest advocates as well as close friend. The bond the two have formed is one of pure love and companionship.
Maureen's previous military medical background has been pivotal on a daily basis for the continued care of Agnes. She is able interpret difficult medical information and terminology allowing for positive options that allow for smooth transactions with doctors and therapists. Maureen has and incredible way of listening to Agnes and finding solutions with any complaints or concern. With Agnes's communication barriers, Maureen is mindful of independence making sure that Agnes makes as many decisions as possible throughout the day keeping dignity and positivity only for Agnes's stroke journey.
Maureen's advocacy, devotion and friendship has provided great gains for Agnes. Pathways Stroke Foundation is fortunate to have Maureen as a supporter for not only Agnes but for all survivors and families.