Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge Gives First On-Camera Interview Since Suffering Stroke
December 28th, 2021 | Lori Burkholder, Anchor
Watch the interview here
He shared his journey following a health scare over the summer.
“I’m getting better every day by increments. I can tell. I’m doing great. Fabulous. Better than I was a couple months ago, that’s for sure,” he said.
In his first on-camera interview since he had a stroke in June, Ridge described what his life has been like.
“A good day is when you wake up in the morning and see the sun shining. I say, ‘Thank you, God, another day to hopefully do better than I did the day before,'” he said.
The stroke affected his left side.
“I can’t do everything I want to do because of some limitations. And the good news is once the therapy is completed, I’ll be able to get back and do everything I was doing before. That’s the goal,” he said.
Ridge goes to Niagara Therapy in Erie three days a week, working on getting back what the stroke stole.
He gets special help from Hope, a dog who was named for what she gives people like Ridge.
“She’s very popular. She’s very entertaining, sometimes a bit stubborn. She’s been great. He really does love working with her,” occupational therapist Markelle Blair said.
“If I can walk out of therapy session today feeling better or stronger or more agile or better prepared for tomorrow, then I’ve had a good day in therapy,” Ridge said.
Ridge continues to improve and said it’s all about the three Ps.
“It takes patience, perseverance and practice. Part of it’s a mindset, and I hope people who watch this would say, ‘Hey, Ridge can do it, I can do it. No big deal.’ You can restore a semblance of a normal life. You can do it. You can just do it,” he said.
Ridge hopes his journey inspires others, just like those who inspired him.
“I think of my condition. I think of Bob Dole, who had very limited use of his right arm. Incredible story – one of my personal heroes. I was honored to be invited to the celebration of his life and his legacy,” he said.
When asked what Ridge wants his legacy to be, he had this answer: “I’ve been privileged to serve my community and my country in multiple ways. I just want people to know I’m grateful for the opportunity for that service and hope they take a look back, regardless of political persuasion, and say, ‘Ridge might not have been the brightest light bulb in the chandelier but we know he worked hard and we’re grateful for that.’ I hope that’s it.”
Ridge said he’s thankful for all the people who have reached out to him since his stroke. He also encouraged stroke survivors to take advantage of all the resources available because he’s proof that those resources make a difference.