NBC News - RIC Patients Senator Mark Kirk and Jackson Cunningham - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on September 23, 2013

NBC News Spotlights RIC Patients Senator Mark Kirk and Jackson Cunningham

Two Inspiring Recoveries and One Amazing Friendship

NEW YORK – Senator Kirk and Jackson Cunningham, friends and RIC patients (NBC News)Anchorman Brian Williams: Our final story tonight is about the friendship between US Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois – recovering from a debilitating stroke, and the boy who knows something about what he’s going through. The Senator’s left side was paralyzed. He can now stand and walk with the help of a cane. It turns out he’s done it all with the help of an unlikely inspiration.

Our story tonight from NBC’s John Yang:

Senator Kirk, RIC stroke patient (NBC News)Reporter John Yang: At first glance, Mark Kirk and Jackson Cunningham seem unlike buddies. An 11-year-old downstate sixth grader and a 54-year-old Senate freshman. But take a closer look and you can see what draws them together. Both suffered serious strokes that initially paralyzed their left sides. Jackson’s was triggered by a blood clot when he was eight-years old. Last year, when he heard about Kirk’s stroke – “Dear Senator Kirk, My name is Jackson Cunningham…” he wrote him about his own recovery. “All the therapy paid off…” and tried to boost his spirits. “Do not give up on yourself. All the hard work is worth it.” A small gesture that meant so much…

See the NBC Nightly News video here [2:23]

Also see the complete NBC News story here [5:40]