North American Bowling News

A Thank You Letter from the Heart - From Mark and Denise Roth

Mark Roth, who is recovering from a debilitating stroke in May 2009, has penned a thank you letter to the bowling community, which has rallied to his side with support morally and financially.

This is the letter, which was received from "Stars & Strikes" publisher Jim Goodwin:

August 31, 2009

Dear Bowling Family,

First, an update: Mark is home, and working hard at rehab. He is holding his own, and on a good day can walk approximately 300 feet at a time (with the assistance of a tripod walking device). He uses an ankle brace for his left ankle to hold his foot in place as he walks. (He still has little or no use of his left ankle--without the brace it is difficult to walk.) Nothing more with his left arm/hand as yet...small movements at best; but every little movement is a wonderful thing! It truly is the small things in life that count the most.

Time has passed by so quickly. It is almost Fall; just the other day (May 31st) it seemed we were waiting for Summer. Mark was still enjoying and talking about the ceremony in which he was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in Reno -- the first part of May. We were all packed for the Vegas tournament -- which we ultimately didn't make. It's a strange feeling to be seeing Fall items in the stores because we can't really remember Summer this year... It's a vague memory.

Every day and night the past few months were spent in the hospital or rehab with Mark -- and for the life of me--thinking back--when I did go home during that time, I couldn't tell you what the weather was like on any given day. Summer 2009 has gotten away from us, but we look towards the upcoming seasons with much hope of brighter tomorrows.

At certain times during this past few months we would wonder, 'is this just a bad dream? or is this real?' -- then leaving that thought behind -- because it was too mind-boggling to try and come to the harsh reality of what this would actually mean long-term. We had enough to do with just getting through each day. We were going through the motions, but putting the emotions aside until we were in a better place to be able to face them. We had to do what we had to do at the time.

Mark was so physically weak, but trying so very hard to move his left side (with everything he had) for even the slightest of movements; being wheeled in and out for yet and still another test, and trying to find something he could eat as the stroke affected his swallowing. He could only eat mechanical soft foods for the first month. No fries! No burgers!... just thickened liquids. Everyone who knows Mark knows how much he loves his fries -- and how difficult the "no fries" period had to have been for him . . . (lol).

Needless to say he lost 15 lbs. very quickly! (But he has managed to regain a few pounds to date.) As for me -- I was tired -- very hurt -- and sad to see Mark in such a bad place, I had many conversations with God -- still do. I stayed in "shock mode," and did what I could to support Mark and make him comfortable.

However, a couple of weeks ago, the shock of it all wore off, and reality hit! Mark was released from inpatient rehab and came home. Reality hit us square in the face... this is real! We were scared -- what now? -- Can we do this? Life as we knew it had forever changed; things will never be the same.

A few days into being home -- the flood gates opened up -- even to hear the guys were back out on the summer tour -- and just knowing that Mark may never ever be able to be out there bowling again -- was a very painful reality. It seemed unbearable. But moving forward -- Mark continues with such determination, and moves through his difficult days like the Champ that he is. At 58, Mark is too young not to have a chance at continued rehab, and to try to make as much of a recovery as he possibly can. He is committed, and is amazingly determined as only Mark Roth would be. He'll need rehab for the rest of his life -- Rehab he wouldn't be able to continue if it weren't for all of your help. Thank you for all of the tournaments that have already taken place, and for all of the upcoming tournaments. Thanks for coming together to help give Mark a fighting chance.

Although we have many, many, many more miles in our journey, we are very thankful for the progress Mark

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