Stroke survivor finds sanctuary and healing at the Steadward Centre

As the Steadward Centre approaches its 45th milestone, Evan Mudryk reflects on his evolution since suffering a stroke – attributing his newfound voice to a community that builds strong connections.

04 December 2023

Among the many people touched by its mission of hope and innovation at the Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement is Evan Mudryk, a determined stroke survivor and an example of the centre's transformative impact.

Over a decade ago, he warmly recalls the early days at the Van Vliet Centre, noting the centre’s modest size then, and he marvels at its evolution and growth since. "I still do meet new people every day: it’s therapy for me. Old friends and volunteers alike. I had a stroke and just to practice and gradually speak more and more. I love it," says Mudryk.

For Mudryk, every interaction is a step towards recovery. When asked what The Steadward Centre means to him, Mudryk's enthusiasm shines through. "To push and push, reaching for the stars and beyond," he expresses, emphasizing the constant drive towards progress, even when facing setbacks. The centre represents for him a platform for integration, where everyone, regardless of their abilities, finds a place. "The Steadward Centre is the best part to integrate society," he says.

A Vision for the Future

As the centre gears up to celebrate its 45th anniversary, Mudryk dreams big. "The next 45 years is quite something, 2068!" He hopes for more services branching out, like early stroke survivor rehabilitation and perhaps more focus on mental health. It's a dream that aligns well with the centre's values, including: “to facilitate Adapted Physical Activity and Para sport opportunities to all who choose to participate.”

For Mudryk and his family, the centre has been a sanctuary of sorts. He says, "The Steadward Centre embraces inclusion, perspective, diversity, and we welcome it." The stroke might have been a turning point in his life, but at the centre, he found a space to ask questions and to heal.

For those unfamiliar with the Steadward Centre, Mudryk emphasizes its a place of strong connections and dedicated faculty and staff. He talks about his experience as a stroke survivor and aphasia. “Talking to the students to be aware. 10 years ago, I didn't talk and now I'm a writer and a stroke survivor, and what happens in the future we never know," he shares.

Research and methodologies developed by the Steadward Centre use participation in exercise programs to assist people in achieving their individual goals, which may include enhancing their communicative abilities. However, this journey can be extensive and demands patience and perseverance. The patient-centered approach of the centre is evident in the way they cater to each individual's unique needs, aligning with their rehabilitation goals and understanding that progress, especially in complex cases like aphasia, does not follow a linear path.

Annually, the institute positively impacts nearly a thousand adults and children. Their carefully curated programs instill a sense of independence and purpose, empowering participants, like Mudryk, to confidently and actively immerse themselves in their communities.