‘Better days ahead’: Haskell student who had stroke during powwow returns home

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Corrin Lamere, a 22-year-old Haskell student who suffered a severe stroke at the KU powwow that left her unable to speak or move one side of her body, has returned home. 

Lamere is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, though she was raised on the Crow reservation and has close ties to both communities. She is also a Haskell Rascal — a term for children whose parents met at Haskell — and she has been dancing at powwows since she was little.

Lamere suffered the stroke during a jingle dance at the KU First Nations Student Association Powwow in April. 

“She had her stroke while she was doing a healing dance,” says Eva McCrary, Lamere’s mom.

The stroke was caused by Moyamoya disease, a rare genetic condition that causes an artery in the brain to become blocked or narrowed. 

Lamere first had a 17-day stay at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Those days were like “a cocoon of healing,” McCrary says. Lamere then transitioned to Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital in Gardner.

McCrary, Apsaalooké, visited Lamere daily. She brought home-cooked meals and slept on a mattress on the floor of her daughter’s hospital room. McCrary talked to and encouraged Lamere’s right side to begin moving again.

McCrary recounts when Lamere began regaining her speech. While in the hospital, Lamere would say “Better days ahead.”

“When she started saying that, it gave me a lot of encouragement,” McCrary says.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Corrin Lamere, left, leads her sisters during Grand Entry at the Spring 2024 Haskell Welcome Back Powwow, Feb. 25, 2024.

Although they were initially told to expect Lamere to stay in the hospital for months or even a year, she fought hard to regain her lost skills and return home after just short of 10 weeks. McCrary suspects the nursing staff realized Lamere has “an amazing support system” and factored that into the decision to send her home sooner. 

On Thursday, Lamere walked from the car and into the house.

Lamere still has at least one more surgery ahead. A piece of her skull was removed to prevent brain damage from swelling, and she expects it to be reattached in October. 

McCrary says her daughter has received an outpouring of love, support and care. Lamere received cards from people across the country and from Canada. 

McCrary is thankful for everyone praying and sending their love. “It felt like Care Bear powers,” she says.

McCrary was surprised and thankful for all the people who shared their personal experiences with strokes. 

“I didn’t realize how many people have had strokes,” she says. Survivors sharing their stories “gave me a lot of comfort and hope in a time when I was really struggling.” 

‘Independent’

McCrary struggles to wrap her mind around why the stroke happened. 

“She was living fully independent and working so hard on everything,” she says.

Lamere’s access to speech is starting to improve — the words are in her head, but the stroke made it difficult to produce the words verbally — but she agrees, “Independent.”

As she heals, Lamere is looking forward to “outside, friends and family, and to eat. And cleaning. I love cleaning,” she says. 

Her mother agrees — Lamere’s apartment was very tidy. 

Lamere’s family rearranged their home in Lawrence to welcome and support her as she embarks on this new chapter of her life. Living with her family after having her own apartment will be an additional adjustment, but McCrary was sure to bring familiar sights for her daughter, including her 12-year-old cat, Yoshi. 

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times After Corrin Lamere’s stay of nearly 10 weeks in the hospital, she and her family members pet her cat, Yoshi, on Thursday.

“I feel like Corrin has a really amazing purpose in life,” McCrary says.

Lamere doesn’t know when she’ll be ready to return to a powwow. McCrary is hopeful that she can attend the Crow Fair in August in Montana, where her family has camped in the same spot for 110 years. 

“You’re a warrior woman. Your Ancestors are cheering for you,” McCrary says of her daughter. “She comes from strong people.”

McCrary is going to make Lamere all new regalia. She wants a pink dress.

Lamere’s family members are accepting donations through Venmo, @Eva-McCrary-1, and CashApp, $Eva1McCrary.

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Molly Adams (she/her), photojournalist and news operations coordinator for The Lawrence Times, can be reached at molly (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Check out more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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