BELVIDERE – Brady Johnson, of Belvidere, survived a terrorist attack while serving in the United States Air Force, ran marathons, and was a sports agent who represented NFL players. However, at the age of 31, he suffered a stroke that threatened his life and spirit.

The stroke left Brady, unable to walk or talk. Privately, doctors told his family he wouldn’t be able to speak clearly again and wouldn’t be able to walk without help – a devastating diagnosis.

Determined to defy the odds, Brady set a goal of walking his wife down the aisle, who he had proposed to just three months before his stroke. Brady had the frustrating and tedious task of learning how to walk and talk again.

Even though he had to push his wedding back, Brady was able to walk his wife down the aisle without assistance and was proudly able to say “I do.”

Brady has now become an advocate for stroke education and uses his voice to speak up for others whose recovery has been more gradual.

For his perseverance, Brady will be given the American Heart Association’s Stroke Hero Award on Saturday, April 23 at the Most Powerful Voices Concert and Health Expo.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fifth leading killer in the nation.

The headliner for this year’s free concert is Grammy Award-winning artist and reality star Erica Campbell of the gospel duo Mary Mary. Campbell has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album.

Other acts include Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago, LXW Chicago and standup comedian Stephon Raickett.

Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago – Chicago’s own gospel powerhouse choir continues to serve the community as a non-denominational, non-profit educational organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of our youth.

LXW Chicago – founded by gospel artist Deitrick Haddon as an extension of his L.A. choir movement, LXW Chicago is filled with young adults between the ages of 18-35 from various churches and background all brought together for ministry.

Prior to the concert, the public can attend a free health fair at House of Hope featuring 40 vendors offering health screenings, hands-only CPR demonstrations, healthy food cooking demos, fitness activities, and much more.

The Most Powerful Voices gospel concert is an evening filled with inspiring gospel music along with information to educate the African- American community about their increased risk for stroke.

African-Americans have nearly twice the risk for a first-ever stroke than Caucasian’s and often have strokes at a younger age. Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fifth leading killer in the United States.

The Free Health Fair will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23. The Free Gospel Concert will take place after the health fair from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The events will be held at the House of Hope, located at 752 E. 114th St. in Chicago.

The event is part of the American Stroke Association’s Power to End Stroke initiative, a national educational and awareness campaign targeted to African Americans.  It unites African Americans and encourages them to make an impact on their own health and lower the frequency of stroke within their community.

For more information: www.heart.org/PowerChicago.

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