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A stroke victim now driven to help other patients

WALLINGFORD – They are former patients paying it forward at Gaylord Hospital.

The rehab hospital has a program called the “Peer Mentor Program for Brain Injury Patients” where 17 former patients now help current patients fighting their way to get back on their feet.

Eileen McCaughern, a 66-year old stroke victim from Bethany was brought to Gaylord Hospital three years ago after suffering what she describes as “a doozy of a stroke”. McCaughern visits patients twice a week in hopes of raising their spirits and showing that, they too, can make a recovery as she has. “They (patients) are delighted to meet with me and they look at me and say you’re walking and you’re talking and they say you are my inspiration.”

Dorene Scolnic, a clinical social worker at Gaylord who is the coordinator of the Peer Mentor Program for Brain Injury patients called McCaughern, “a rock star.” She added, “She’s such an inspiration and that’s what this whole program is all about.”

McCaughern also still does some rehab at Gaylord Hospital, remarking that she swims at the pool there twice a week.

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