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Michael Barnes

Gutsy tales at Austin Speech Labs event

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Sometimes, live testimonials do the trick.

My colleague, Nicole Villalpando, effectively explained the role of Austin Speech Labs, a nonprofit that helps people recover from strokes, in a recent American-Statesman article.

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Linda and Robert Lee at Austin Speech Labs Gala.

I was my turn to learn more at the One Word at a Time gala, set at the Four Seasons Hotel. Pre-dinner chat introduced me to some of the Austin Speech Labs players, among them medical doctors, but not to the meat of the matter.

Speeches in the banquet hall flowed by pleasantly, as did an impressive video that focused on stroke survivors. It’s pretty darn amazing that the group will take on a survivor for as long as they need to recover their words, for just $10 an hour. Even if it takes many years.

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Divya Bharal and Dave Kapur at Austin Speech Labs Gala.

It was not, however, until two of them stood before 450 of us that the coin dropped. Not long ago, Lindy Jansky of Corpus Christi and Bill Hrncir of Laredo were struck silent by strokes. But here they were, speaking in public, telling their own stories, every so often visibly and audibly redirecting their words with incredible courage.

Vigorous nods of approval to founders Shilpa Shamapant and Shelley Adair, as well as honored advisors Dr. Everett Heinze and Dr. Thomas Hill.