United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) had a stroke on January 21, 2012. He spent 77 days as an inpatient at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). Shortly after he arrived there, he received a letter from third grader Jackson Cunningham.
Cunningham had a stroke on February 19, 2011. The two stroke victims got to know each other and encouraged each other through the letters they exchanged. On June 18, 2012, they met when they were both at the RIC cafeteria.
On January 3, 2013, Kirk climbed the United States Capital steps with help. On June 28, 2013, Cunningham ran for the first time since having his stroke. On August 8, 2013, Cunningham traveled to Washington, D.C. to spend time with Kirk. They continue to root for each other and celebrate the progress they are both gradually making.
Sandra Sobieraj Westfall wrote the inspirational article about Kirk and Cunnignham entitled, 'Amazing Friendship: Dear Senator, I had a Stroke' in the September 30, 2013 issue of People magazine. In St. Paul, People is available where most entertainment magazines are sold.
Julia Parent also writes St. Paul TV Examiner and St. Paul Books Examiner articles.