Stroke Survivor to Throw Out Ceremonial First Pitch at Cubs Game Tuesday, May 30


Stroke Survivor to Throw Out Ceremonial First Pitch at Cubs Game Tuesday, May 30

Advocate Health Care and the Chicago Cubs will honor Ashley Lunardini, who survived a life-threatening stroke at the young age of 39 last summer

Chicago – May is stroke awareness month, and Advocate Health Care and the Chicago Cubs will honor a special stroke survivor on Tuesday, May 30 when the Cubs take on the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:05 p.m. Ashley Lunardini, a Chicago native, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, receive a customized jersey, watch batting practice and meet players before the game. And she hopes sharing her story will inspire others with similar symptoms to get checked.

Members of the media are welcome to shoot video and interview Ashley, her family and her doctor, Dr. Demetrius Lopes, on the warning track near the Cubs dugout between 6-6:45 p.m. prior to her throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Please contact Adam Widman at or call 614-572-6903 for more information and to RSVP. A daily or seasonal credential will be required to attend. Media may also request an interview before or after the game in person or virtually.

Ashley’s story started in August of last year, when she began experiencing what she believed at the time to be symptoms of a seizure. Sharp neck pains, dull headaches among them. Then days later, on August 26, 2022, the symptoms became more severe as she first began experiencing blurriness in her left eye after coming home from the grocery store. She then recalls sitting down to dinner later that evening and telling her husband, “Something isn’t right”, as her symptoms increased. Minutes later, Ashley nearly lost all capacity to speak or move and could barely lift a glass of water. She described the feeling in her body as “electrical”. She then proceeded to pass out and her husband called 911 where she was admitted to the ER at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
However, through it all, her brain was conscious the entire time. She had the capacity to hear, but could not move or speak.

What Ashley and her husband first thought were signs of a seizure turned out to me much more severe. Shortly upon admittance, doctors told her she was suffering a massive stroke. Basilar artery occlusion to be exact. Doctors found several dissections in the arteries of her neck, which caused the clot that caused the stroke – six strokes in her brain to be exact. She spent 8 days in the ICU before being discharged.

Ashley was just 39 at the time. Active and healthy with no family history of strokes. She did not smoke, have high blood pressure or diabetes and had no known blood disorders. She did Pilates three days a week, walked daily, cooked healthy meals at home five times a week with plenty of fruits and vegetables. All atypical traits for someone experiencing a life-threatening stroke.

Once discharged at home, everyday tasks became milestones in her recovery. Brushing her teeth. Showering. Drying her hair. Taking a walk. Making a meal. She felt constant pressure in her brain and struggled to visibly focus when outside. Today, 9 months later, Ashley achieves a new milestone every day and is on her way to making a full recovery thanks to the care team at Advocate Illinois Masonic.

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