IHP S-IHP’s CAP graduate Michael Obel-Omia celebrates the last leg of his cross-country bike ride after suffering an ischemic stroke in 2016.

Almost every day this summer, Michael Obel-Omia has gone for a bike ride. While it sounds leisurely on the surface, he’d describe it as challenging yet fulfilling. That’s because he didn’t just ride his bike, he rode roughly 4,000 miles from Montana to Massachusetts. 

Making the feat more impressive is the fact he completed the arduous journey just a few years after suffering an ischemic stroke. 

Excitement and a sense of amazement was in the air last Friday, as he and the other riders arrived to a welcome event at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to mark the end of their ride. Not only was the ride an impressive physical feat for anyone - let alone stroke survivors – it marked yet another steppingstone in Obel-Omia’s physical, emotional, and personal recovery. 

“While the ride was a journey – literally and figuratively, it taught me what I was capable of,” he said. “I showed people that even if they’re down, they can get back up.” 

Obel-Omia rode with Whitney Hardy, a fellow stroke survivor who completed her rehabilitation at Spaulding. 

Both spoke at the event Friday, sharing their thanks, immense pride, and gratitude they feel towards the community there in the room: Stroke Onward’s founders and their co-riders, families, friends, and numerous members of the Mass General Brigham family. Even the team’s supportive mascot Rusti was there – the founders’ Goldendoodle puppy, a service animal in training who went on the road with the group all summer long.

Obel-Omia was able to get back up thanks to the therapy, support, and encouragement of the students, faculty, and professionals at the Spaulding-Institute of Health Profession’s Comprehensive Aphasia Program, affectionately known as S-IHP’s CAP.

Obel-Omia speaks with members of his former care team at the celebration event, including Dr. Marjorie Nicholas of the IHP.