Anchorage photographer survives stroke, highlighting importance of preventative measures

Anchorage photographer survives stroke, highlighting importance of preventative measures
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 9:48 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For the last 20 years, Eberhard Brunner has traveled around the world with a camera strapped to his hands.

“I like the challenge and I like to be outside,” Brunner said about exploring his hobby. “See if I can do better and better.”

His travels have taken him from Alaska to East Africa, as he looks to capture that perfect shot. Timing and patience, Brunner said, are key components of his success.

“I saw that leopard get into that rock pile there at 9 o’clock in the morning, and I got the picture at 5 in the afternoon,” Brunner said as he described waiting for a leopard to come out of hiding for dinnertime, while he was in Africa.

And, just like timing is important for photography, Brunner said it is also important after having a stroke. The medical staff at Alaska Regional Hospital would agree.

“Time is brain. Brain is important,” Tami Speed, the stroke coordinator at Alaska Regional Hospital, said.

It’s a reality that Brunner knows all too well. The senior citizen suffered a stroke in October 2021.

“I walked from the kitchen to the living room, and kind of went down,” Brunner recalled of the moment the stroke hit him. “I didn’t pass out, but I couldn’t speak.”

Brunner fell to the floor, suffering from a stroke in front of his family.

“I heard them talking to me but I couldn’t answer them,” Brunner said.

According to Brunner, an ambulance arrived within 20 minutes and brought him to Alaska Regional Hospital for treatment, precious minutes saved that made a big difference.

“That’s the most important thing. Two million neurons are damaged or affected for each minute that a stroke occurs,” Speed said.

Hospital staff said that Brunner was lucky to have been with family during the time he suffered a stroke. They say that knowing the signs of a stroke is helpful in being able to help those who may be suffering from one, or beginning to experience symptoms themselves.

An easy way for staff say to remember the symptoms of a stroke is to use the acronym F.A.S.T. Broken down, the first three letters stand for face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty. The “T” means its time to call 911. Experts say emergency responders should be called right away.

“It’s very important to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke so that you can identify them for either yourself or for someone that is near to you,” Speed said.

These days, Brunner is looking forward to spending his summer fly fishing and being back outside snapping photos. He said he is doing better and takes daily walks.

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