When life gives you a second chance, you embrace it to live life to the fullest. For McLean resident, retired business owner, and EmPowered to Serve ambassador for the American Heart Association, Mark Moore, that was exactly the case when he survived two strokes at the age of 46.

Stroke survivor and dedicated full time philanthropist Mark Moore. (Photo courtesy of The Washington Post.)

In 2007, Mark Moore was a successful businessman who co-owned Segovia Inc., a business (Mark and his friend) founded in 2002, that sold global IP services to the Department of Defense. Married to his longtime love Brenda and a father of two, Mark felt good about life. He ate healthy, exercised regularly, didn’t smoke or drink, and had good blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Learning that he developed a blood clotting deficiency, which led him to have two strokes that same year, completely shocked Mark and his family.

It was the day before Mother’s Day in 2007 and Mark was coaching his son’s baseball team when he noticed something was wrong. While driving home with his son, Mark made an excuse to stop and get a Mother’s Day card; the pain he felt was worsening. That’s when he called his wife, who advised him to call an ambulance immediately. At the hospital, it was confirmed that Mark had a stroke. Two days later, Mark had a second stroke. To alleviate the pressure on his brain, doctors had to remove a small piece of Mark’s skull and put him into an induced coma for six weeks to reduce the swelling and rest his brain. Brenda was by his side every night and when Mark came out of his coma, she told him what had happened. “She said, ‘You’ve had two strokes and you’ve got a long recovery ahead’,” Mark told the American Heart Association’s Stroke Connection. “It was an absolute shock, and my initial reaction was ‘I don’t want to work that hard.”

But Mark’s faith pushed him through. “I said to myself, ‘God must think I can handle this, and I’ll handle it.’ That was the moment I began to surrender and things changed for me,” Mark recalled. With faith as his center and a new outlook on life, two months of intensive physical therapy four days a week, and the support of his wife who went to every appointment with him, progress was slowly showing for Mark. Continuous support from his family and friends gave him the boost he needed.

Determined and driven, Mark set a goal to run a 5k exactly one year after his stroke. By the end of the summer Mark returned to Segovia Inc. as chief operating officer and a year after his stroke completed a 5K in 36 minutes. At 49, Mark retired after he and his business partner sold their company. Since then Mark and his wife have dedicated their life to serving others with a focus in health care, education, culture, and Christian evangelism; They’ve started the Mark and Brenda Moore Family Foundation. “I realize I didn’t recover on my own,” Mark told Stroke Connection. “I believe we have an obligation to pay it forward.”

The Moore’s philanthropic projects are numerous; and Mark has recently penned a memoire entitled, “A Stroke of Faith.”Mark and Brenda Moore are also part of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s EmPowered To Serve program, which brings together faith-based organizations to provide health education and resources to multicultural communities through discussion and group activities.

The best advice Mark can offer from his experience is to develop a support system that is dependable and helps you recover emotionally and mentally. “Don’t try to go at it alone. Family and friends have been instrumental in my recovery and return to normal life,” Mark said.