Stroke recovery helps woman find path to health, career and purpose

[Allina Health Newsroom, September 18, 2023] Michelle Ammann says adaptive cycling gives her an unbelievable sense of freedom. Seated in her recumbent bike, she pedals along the Greenway in Minneapolis to West River Road and ends at Minnehaha Falls.


The eight miles ride is something she had no interest in doing before her stroke in May of 2019. At the age of 49, she woke up, drove to work and sat down to write when the first sign of trouble emerged.

“I was writing messages, and they were really small and usually, I don’t write small. I could hardly read them, so I said something is wrong, and I had my coworker take me to the ER,” said Ammann.

Ammann was taken for an MRI and that’s where her memory ends. She woke up in intensive care struggling to walk and talk.  She spent four weeks at Allina Health’s United Hospital Stroke Center, receiving acute stroke rehabilitation services. She spent the next six weeks at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s (CKRI) Transitional Rehabilitation Program. Physical, occupational and speech therapies were the core of her rehabilitation.

“I was in a wheelchair,” Ammann remembered. “In my therapy they had me trying to walk. When I go up there now, I can’t believe how short the distance was. At that time, it felt so far to get from point A to point B.”

She showed amazing effort and dedication to her recovery. She had many setbacks, including losing her job after her stroke during the pandemic,” said. Alison Weinlaeder, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist and rehabilitation services supervisor at CKRI. “She is a great example of how someone can return to a full, engaging life after a serious stroke with the support of CKRI.  She has truly come full circle.” 


Ammann is walking now, but still continues her rehabilitative therapies as she works toward having movement in her left arm and improving her speech. In the meantime, she has a new job as a provider coordinator at Allina Health United Hospital, helping patients make appointments and supporting the care team. “It’s really my post-stroke dream job. I am helping the people who helped me.”


High blood pressure was the root cause of Amman’s stroke. She admits she wasn’t taking very good care of herself in the past. Of course, now things are very different as she prioritizes her health and participates in adaptive cycling twice a week.

“It’s like so much better than my life was before the stroke, which is odd. I feel so much better than I did then,” added Ammann. “If it wasn’t for all of therapies, support groups and Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling there’s no way I’d be where I am right now.”

Learn more about Allina Health’s continuum of care:
United Hospital Stroke Center | Neuro | Inpatient Care | Allina Health
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute | St. Paul, MN | Allina Health
Transitional rehabilitation program | Allina Health

Learn more about adaptive cycling:
Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling (



Posted on September 18, 2023 in United HospitalCourage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

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