Former Intel Executive, Stroke Survivor, Embarking On Epic Bike Ride - NBC Bay Area
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Former Intel Executive, Stroke Survivor, Embarking On Epic Bike Ride

Sean Maloney is constantly telling stroke survivors they can come back from there illness. He is going to spend the next two months proving it. (Published Friday, March 20, 2015)

Old La Honda Road in Portola Valley is well known in Bay Area cycling circles.

Its relentless climb and constant twist and turns make it a popular proving ground for serious cyclists. Those qualities, it just so happens, also make it a great metaphor for Sean Maloney's life.

Or is it lives?

"I've had two lives," the 59-year-old Palo Alto resident says. "One before my stroke and one after it."

Sean Maloney was Executive Vice President of Intel until he suffered a stroke in February 2010

On Sunday, Sean will begin putting an exclamation point on the second, post-stroke, part of his life. He will set off from Palo Alto City Hall for a two month, 5,000 mile, cross-country bike ride. Sean's trek, dubbed Heart Across America, is meant to raise awareness of the warning sings of strokes and heart attacks.

"80% of them are preventable," Sean says.

Sean has events scheduled in 14 cities to promote his cause. Heart Across America will, perhaps more importantly, also be a moving message to other survivors that they can come back a stroke.

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Before his stroke in February of 2010, Sean was a big-time executive at one of the worlds biggest technology firms, Intel. Some said he was in line to eventually become the chip-maker's CEO.

Then, one day after a run, that all changed. Sean suffered a severe stroke that left him in the hospital for months, unable to speak.

In the five years since his stroke, Sean has had to learn how to speak all over again. Always and avid athlete, Sean has also brought his body back to an extremely high level of fitness.

Sean says his doctor told him that because of permanent damage to the speech centers on the left side of his brain, he was going to have to "learn how to speak out of the right side of your head." Sean says recovering his speech has been the toughest thing he has ever done.

Recovering his physical abilities might not have been have as hard for Sean, but ia just as impressive. Before his stroke, Sean was passionate about his workouts, rowing on San Francisco Bay almost every single day.

Sean is leaving on March 22, 2015 on a two-month, 5,000 mile bike ride across the United States. Dubbed, Heart Across America, Sean's goal is to raise awareness about the warning signs of strokes and heart attacks.

Five months ago, though, Sean decided that it was with his bike he wanted to make a statement about strokes, and stroke recoveries. He and a small team of support staff have been planning the logistics ever since, making sure he will have enough of whatever he needs on the road.

Of all the things that he could run out of,however, will power will not be one of them.

Sean says if there is one thing he has learned in this two lives, it is that we all have more will within us than we think we do. He certainly did.

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