After tragic loss, mother and daughter educate others about stroke


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One mother and daughter are on a mission to ensure no other families have to endure the pain they experience each day.

One part of their awareness campaign is simple cards, on one side they feature the picture of Mike Cervantes, the other side features the signs of stroke.

Janet Cervantes-Hageman said she’s already had people tell her the card saved their life.

“My dad died when I was 15 years old,” Claire Cervantes said.

Six years later, the pain is still so real for Claire.

Her father Mike woke up with an excrutiating headache and was sick to his stomach. He also couldn’t hear.

“That was kind of the start of the journey we are on today,” Janet Cervantes-Hageman said.

Cervantes-Hageman said it took medical professionals 10 hours to determine her husband had a brain stem stroke and clots on his brain.

“In the waiting room, of the emergency room we took him to there were posters all over, about strokes all over, about some of the signs and symptoms, and the personnel didn’t know,” Cervantes-Hageman said.

Janet and Claire were by Mike’s side until he passed. He was only 52 years old.

“That shouldn’t happen to anyone, and if there was something we could do, to help someone else not feel what we felt at that time, and honestly every day since, that is what we were going to do,” Cervantes-Hageman said.

This determined wife didn’t waste anytime in spreading the word.

While planning Mike’s funeral, in lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to the Mike Cervantes Stroke Awareness Foundation.

“If we can educate people like him, then people won’t go through that grief and sadness, because milestones of someone being gone is really, really tough,” Claire said.

Claire is looking forward to one of life’s major milestones, as she continues her college education.

She was inspired by her high school counselor, who was there during the most difficult time in her life.

“I want to be that kind of person for somebody, especially if they are dealing with grief,” Claire said.

Although some will come to the Heart Walk and FAST 5K who understand grief, there will also be many there to celebrate.

Claire’s stepfather is one of them, Gary is a stroke survivor.

“I also do it for my Stepdad Gary,” Claire said. “I love him like he is my own Dad, and he’s really stepped up when he needs to.”

The family will continue to take steps in hopes others won’t have to walk the same painful journey.

“Everything we do is because of how much we loved him,” Cervantes-Hageman said.

Through their efforts his legacy lives on. 

His picture will be featured on the medals at the upcoming FAST 5K, an event that started right here at Sedgwick County Park, in his honor.

The American Heart Association invites you to walk or run with us at the 2019 Heart Walk and F.A.S.T. 5K on Saturday, June 8th at Wichita State University. 

To register or join an existing team visit: here

*Schedule of Events*
7:30 a.m. | Festivities Begin, on the South Practice Field of WSU’s Charles Koch Arena
8 a.m. | F.A.S.T. 5K Begins
9:15 a.m. | Walk Begins 
We will honor survivors of cardiovascular diseases prior to the walk, with a group photo!

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