Kroc Spotlight: Charlasa Dean

Former Kroc Center fitness manager Cheryl Floyd works with Charlasa Dean on a SciFit machine.

In 2014, at only 30 years old, Charlasa Dean suffered a massive stroke, followed by a heart attack. Doctors weren’t sure if she would live. After a 90-day hospital stay that included a medically-induced coma, they told her mother, Doris, that Charlasa would likely never walk or talk on her own again. All Doris could do was pray.

“I have five boys and she’s the only girl, and she’s the baby,” Doris said. “I prayed a lot that the Lord would give me back my child.”

Over the next year, Charlasa underwent intense physical therapy in an attempt to regain her life. But, according to Doris, the therapy wasn’t very effective, in part because the sessions
felt impersonal.

Once the physical therapy period ended, the Deans weren’t sure where to turn next. “When we first came up here, I think it was like 2015,” Doris said. “She couldn’t do anything.”

For some time, Charlasa’s family brought her to the Kroc Center to continue exercising with the very basic instructions they received after therapy. But they still felt lost, and with Charlasa
unable to walk and with limited use of one hand, much of the equipment was inaccessible.

Then, at the start of 2017, they met Kroc Center personal trainer Cheryl Floyd. Charlasa started with very simple, 30-minute training sessions, with Cheryl helping the family learn which
exercises and equipment would be most effective.

“I think it has been less about the training and more about the relationship we developed,” said Floyd. “Of course, the exercises are important, but sometimes what people really
need is the consistent attention and encouragement.”

Two and a half years later, Charlasa still trains with Cheryl – and walks into the Kroc on her own. “Now she’s putting on her own clothes, and she’s getting in the shower by herself,” Doris said. “It’s been so fun working with Cheryl.”

“One of the reasons we still train with Cheryl is because she will push Charlasa if she starts to slack off. I don’t want her to get lazy, because she’s coming along so well.”The Deans know that there is still plenty of work to be done, but Charlasa is still enthusiastic about coming to the Kroc Center. “You know, she’d come every night if she could,” Doris laughed.

Doris is confident that God will continue to work in their lives. Of course, Charlasa’s story is a very special one – but Doris believes the Kroc Center is part of the reason for her recovery,
and encourages others to hold on to faith through whatever journey they are on.

“Patience is a good thing to have. You know, nothing comes overnight, but if you put your energy in it and want to get well, here’s the place to come.”