Roderick Dunston Passes Away

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The LAI Video family is devastated to learn that Roderick Dunston has passed away. We were lucky enough to collaborate with Roderick on our unreleased feature-length documentary about stroke awareness. As a two-time stroke survivor and spokesperson for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, we were drawn to Roderick’s unique story of perseverance and pay-it-forwardness. And after working with Roderick, we were grateful to get to know such a generous soul.

 
 

A college basketball referee turned fierce health advocate, Roderick was a fighter. After surviving two strokes in his thirties, Roderick was determined to take back his life despite lacking health insurance or access to the best rehabilitation options.

While some survivors can afford intensive outpatient treatments, Roderick created his own physical therapy regimen with his friends and former colleagues. Instead of working with professional speech specialists, he got a copy of Hooked on Phonics. In saving his own life, Roderick earned himself a reputation for a do-it-yourself recovery approach. He would work with the American Heart Association and his own foundation to share his story to audiences. To save more lives.

When interviewing Roderick for the documentary, we would ask him to retell and relive painful memories. But with each session, he put us at ease. There’s an earnestness to his delivery. A calming presence that was surprising. His story is not filled with resentment or rage, but rather hope and love. Through our shoots, it was clear that his determination for ending stroke was rivaled only by his compassion for his family, especially his youngest son Jordan. Keeping them happy was truly his secret weapon to living a good life.

We’re heartbroken that Roderick will not see the final cut of the film or be there for its first screening. Not only was he a featured survivor, he was the project’s biggest fan. But we count ourselves lucky to have captured his story. His mission will live on. His words will inspire others to know that recovery is possible and that a new normal is achievable. For everyone.

James Loizou