Bill’s Got Moxie - Stroke Recovery Fundraiser

Our dad, Bill Rix, is funny and charming and lights up a room. He is someone you can always count on to lend a hand, tell a good joke, fix something, remember the stats of a New England Sports team, show you a picture of the Moxie parade or volunteer his services. He is a loving husband, a great father, an inventive grandfather, a helpful neighbor, a hard-working co-worker and a dear friend to many.

Our dad had a stroke. Bill woke in the night, felt weak, and asked my mother (Gwen Rix) to take him to the hospital. They drove to the medical center, with Jessie (their oldest daughter) meeting up with them.

Bill immediately went through a series of diagnostic tests. While there, his left arm and leg no longer moved, his facial muscles went slack, and he lost vision in his left eye. The doctors sent him by ambulance to Portland (MMC) where they performed another CT scan to determine if surgery to remove the clot was an option. It was risky. The clot was (is) located in his basilar artery, at the base of his brain, the neurologist explained. There was a 70% chance they would be able to remove the clot. Even if the procedure was successful, his symptoms may not subside. In addition, there were risks with the procedure itself.  A brain bleed, another stroke, and an unexpected negative reaction to the anesthesia, were a few of them.

Within a matter of hours, our dad went from being an amazingly strong and able-bodied person, to someone who would need assistance walking and performing tasks he previously did without thought, for the rest of his life. We were terrified. Not doing the surgery meant there were additional areas of his brain that could be affected. My mom decided to proceed with the procedure and we found out hours later, that her actions (in conjunction with the neurosurgeon’s) saved his life.

Post-op, Bill had made a tremendous improvement. Each doctor that came to check in and perform tests, was impressed with the amount of natural strength he had, how quickly he regained movement, and how much of his eyesight was restored. He was labeled “a miracle!”. They kept him under close surveillance for 24 hours. The staff kept checking with CT scans and an MRI for a brain-bleed, a common side effect of the procedure.

Those were the longest 24 hours of our lives. The next day the doctors explained that not only did he not have a substantial bleed, but that he was continuing to make progress! Our dad is amazing and he was fighting with all he had, to cover the ground he had lost so quickly!

Bill was moved from the ICU to the stroke ward and from there, to a nearby rehabilitation center. While there he received hours of PT and OT every day. He received speech therapy and worked very hard on his vision, to both reduce the pie wedge of vision loss that remained and to develop strategies for compensating for the loss. He continued to make gains and was discharged after 4 days, 9 days after the initial event.

One would think, that after everything he went through, everything we all went through, that the following information would be solidified in our minds forever; the medical details, the difficult conversations, the decisions made, the worrying, the spreading of news of what happened, talking to loved-ones about Bill’s progress.

In reality, it’s not. We’re certain some aspects will fade over time, because what we remember most is how, half-paralyzed and waiting to go into surgery, my dad was joking around with the nurses and doctors. They wanted to make sure he was comfortable and he adamantly stated “don’t worry, I could sleep on a picket fence!” And that is my dad. That is Bill. He lightens the mood, he makes others feel comfortable, he disregards his own situation to ease the worries of those around him. And this is just one example. He made such a connection with the doctors that they would stop by after their shift ended to check on him. They would pause while giving instruction to heartily laugh at his jokes and most of all, he made them smile.

We are forever grateful for his progress. We are thankful for the skilled work of the doctors, nurses and aids who treated him. We are endlessly appreciative of the calls/messages/visits from friends and family. But what I think Bill would say is that it is the power of prayer that allowed this journey to reach these current stages of success. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude!

While it is true that Bill has made tremendous strides (GO DAD!), there is still a lot to be done. The time spent in the ICU, the procedure to remove the clot from his brain, the tests and scans performed, the additional stay in the hospital, and rehab will certainly result in hefty medical bills. Gwen has been by his side from the first moments in the hospital and she will likely not return to work full-time until it has been decided that Bill will be safe and independent in their home. Already changes have been made to accommodate his mobility needs there. In addition, we are hopeful that he will be driving again soon, but are unsure of his ability to drive a standard, creating the need for an automatic vehicle for his commute to/from work.

This is where we seek your help. Please, if you’re able, if you have been among those who have experienced Bill’s innate generosity, his selflessness, his kindness. We would be eternally grateful for any financial assistance with these expenses. There is no donation too small.

We would like to recognize that there are many forms of support. Thank you to those who have taken precious time to visit and communicate with Bill. For those of you who have mailed cards, called, and sent messages on social media. Our dad is uplifted by your words of kindness and encouragement!

Donations (77)

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  • Ridvan Foxhall
    • $70 
    • 4 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 4 yrs
  • Steve Thompson
    • $50 
    • 5 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 5 yrs
  • Kim Spencer
    • $25 
    • 5 yrs
See all

Fundraising team (4)

Sarah-Jane Wing
Raised $1,536 from 22 donations
Lisbon Falls, ME
William Rix
Rita Sloat
Team member
Raised $775 from 12 donations
Jessica Griffin
Team member
Raised $145 from 2 donations
This team raised $2,545 from 41 other donations.

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