NBA All-Star Paul George was only 6-years-old when his mother Paulette suffered a stroke that left her practically bedridden for two years.

Paul George with his mother, Paulette
Paul George with his mother, Paulette

Today, Paulette remains partially paralyzed on the left side of her body.

“I remember every moment of it,” said the Indiana Pacers swingman. “I was always there at hospital visits, right by her bed. When she got a hospital bed in our home, I would lay in my bed next to her. I want to make sure that everyone knows the warning signs for a stroke so they can quickly take action and give their loved ones the best chance for recovery.”

The pair has teamed up with the American Stroke Association and the Ad Council on a series of multimedia PSAs that teach the acronym F.A.S.T. for stroke: If you see (F)ace drooping, (A)rm weakness or (S)peech difficulty, it’s (T)ime to call 9-1-1.

Created pro bono by The Baiocco and Maldari Connection, the new PSAs blend images of a 6-year-old George with the present-day athlete.

“The spot sets up a Paul George basketball story, then you’re blindsided with the stroke of his mother,” said Rob Baiocco, CCO of the New York-based agency. “A stroke often comes out of nowhere and that’s why knowing the warning signs is so important.”

An American suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, but only 8 percent of the population knows what F.A.S.T. means, according to a recent Ad Council study.

“Treatment options are limited when people don’t recognize a stroke and get to the appropriate hospital in time,” said Mary Ann Bauman, M.D., American Stroke Association Advisory Committee chair. “Paul and Paulette’s involvement in our campaign will help people to recognize the signs of a stroke so they can be quickly assessed and have a greater chance at recovery.”

The Ad Council’s new TV, radio, digital, and print PSAs will be distributed nationwide and run in space and time entirely donated by the media.

“Learning the F.A.S.T. acronym is easy to do and may save a life,” said Lisa Sherman, Ad Council president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to work with American Stroke Association and Paul George to teach people the signs of a stroke so more families like Paul’s can have memories together.”

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