Single Dad Triumphs Over Severe Stroke in Time for Father’s Day

After spending nearly a year in the hospital and a skilled nursing facility, and years undergoing intensive neuro-rehabilitation from a massive stroke, a 51-year-old devoted single father from the Valley has made a profound recovery and is looking forward to celebrating this Father’s Day with his two daughters. The special day marks an extraordinary celebration of resilience and love.

An engineer, athlete, and proud father, Dave Allen suffered a massive stroke caused by an undetected congenital heart defect in early 2020. His world changed in an instant. Upon awakening from a coma following his stroke, he found himself in a hospital bed, surrounded by the unfamiliar reality of a global pandemic and the devastating news that he might never again walk or regain full cognitive function.

Despite these challenges, Allen’s determination to recover for both himself and his daughters led him to Barrow Neurological Institute’s Center for Transitional Neuro-Rehabilitation (CTN) where he received intensive 30-hour-a week neuro-rehabilitation, which included neuropsychology, and physical, occupational, speech, and group therapies under the guidance of Christina Kwasnica, MD, medical director of the Barrow Neuro-Rehabilitation Center. CTN is a renowned center that provides neuro-rehabilitation services for individuals who have suffered neurological injuries or disorders. The Center is focused on helping patients maximize functional recovery and reintegrate into their everyday lives in the home and community.

“It has been so rewarding to witness Dave progress so well through his therapies at Barrow,” says Dr. Kwasnica. “Throughout his journey at CTN, Dave worked extremely hard in order to reach his goals of becoming independent and returning to the workplace. He is incredibly resilient, and I’m so proud to see him thrive.”

Within a year of undergoing therapy at Barrow, Allen was walking on his own, and his speech and cognition had improved tremendously. Most importantly, he can now fully participate in the lives of his two daughters whose unwavering support have been a cornerstone of his recovery.

“When I was sedated in the hospital, I was not able to communicate with my daughters, but I could feel them squeezing my hands. I knew my girls were with me, and they kept me fighting for my life,” says Allen, whose daughters are now 21 and 23. “My life’s joy is being their dad and watching them with pride as they grow and achieve their dreams.”

As a token of gratitude to Barrow, Allen now works one day a week for Barrow Neurological Foundation, personally thanking donors for their generosity and sharing his story to inspire others.

I’m honored to give back to Barrow. They helped me regain my strength and independence. Without Barrow, I never would have made such a terrific recovery or had the opportunity to stay active in my daughters’ lives.”

This Father’s Day, Allen stands as a beacon of hope and resilience, celebrating not only his recovery but also the precious moments with his daughters that he once feared he might never experience again.

“Father’s Day means so much more to me now,” says Allen. “Being alive and well for my girls is everything to me. I’m so grateful.”