Like many mothers, Emaya Dilworth, 44, enjoys baking and caring for her
four children, who range in age from 10 to 24. The difference is that Emaya is doing it despite a
massive stroke two years ago that left her partially paralyzed and unable
to talk or swallow.
Against all odds, including just a five percent chance of a meaningful
recovery, Emaya is thriving, thanks to her family, Pomona Valley Hospital
Medical Center (PVHMC) and her own determination.
Paramedics rushed Emaya to PVHMC in 2014 when her mother found her unresponsive
one morning. Tests showed that a large stroke had affected the entire
left side of Emaya’s brain.
“Because of swelling, Emaya had a portion of her skull removed so
the brain would have a place to expand,” said her father, Carl Douglas.
“The damage to her brain was quite extensive. We were told Emaya
had a 10 percent chance of never speaking again and a 5 percent chance
of not remaining in a vegetative state.”
But after intensive stroke treatment at PVHMC’s Stead Heart &
Vascular Center, followed by weeks of inpatient rehabilitation at another
facility, Emaya slowly began to improve. After many more months of outpatient
rehabilitation and encouragement from the PVHMC Stroke Support Group,
she progressed from needing round-the-clock care from her parents to living
independently at home with three of her children (the oldest is in the
“She can talk, walks with a cane, and lives alone without the need
for full-time help from family or friends,” said Katrina Woolfolk,
PVHMC Stroke Support Group Facilitator. “When she first came to
us, she was wheeled in by her father. She had very little speech and a
lot of difficulty with word-finding. She now walks into stroke support
and her speech is remarkably improved. She is happy, upbeat and feels
truly blessed to be alive. Stroke recovery is a lifelong journey filled
with highs and lows and Emaya is an outstanding example of our stroke
support motto: “We do Survive, We do Recover, We do Thrive.”
PVHMC offers a multitude of resources that are available to all stroke
patients. These include the Stroke Support Group, inpatient rehabilitation
and outpatient rehabilitation, which includes three types of specialized
therapies in PVHMC’s Rehabilitation Services department –
speech therapy to improve swallowing abilities, speech language and comprehension
and problem-solving skills; occupational therapy to address physical,
cognitive, and emotional challenges; and physical therapy to help patients
To learn more about our advanced stroke capabilities and rehabilitation
resources, visit pvhmc.org.