Couple finds love at Chandler stroke therapy center

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

As a group of men and women break out their instruments and raise their voices as part of the chimes choir at the Dignity Health's stroke support group in Chandler, you could say they are playing John Torres' and Jocelyn Hardy's song because music has played a big part helping them both overcome strokes.

"It was hard, it was very hard at first. I didn’t know what to do,” remembered Torres. “Pretty soon I started to come to the chimes choir and started talking to God and praying. And I don’t know I started feeling better about myself."

Hardy said, of the group, "They have played a major part in making me feel better, making me feel healthier and more prepared for whatever life may deal out to me."

In fact, Mercy Gilbert stroke program coordinator Terry Peterson said there is a great deal of research showing how music helps.

“When you are talking or doing calculations you use more the left side of your brain and music uses your right side so you are using different parts of the brain," said Peterson. "It also uses some of the rehab therapies that are used in occupational therapy in terms of the motion of ringing a chime, there is the coordination that goes along with that, and counting to keep the beat, but it also is a socialization process.”

Not to be underestimated, that socialization part is a big part of this story.  

Hardy said this is where she and Torres found love.

“He would tell me about the chimes choir and the stroke group," said Hardy, "Finally I decided to come and attend and give it a try, and I liked it I liked the vibes that I got.”

“We were friends at first and we dated like most people," added Torres. "Then one day I asked her if she would marry me and she said yes, she said yes.”

In fact, their wedding day is this coming Saturday, Feb.10.

But Torres and Hardy say theirs is more than a love story, it is also a story of survival they want to share.

"I didn’t even know what I was doing here when I first got the strokes but then I started seeing and started thinking survival," said Torres. "We have to fight in this world to survive." 

"My health has had a great impact on my life as far as limiting me but I am not going to give it full power over me," said Hardy.

Because they say that while having a stroke or any other health crisis may mean the end of one part of your life, it can also mark the beginning of another, said Torres. 

"I don’t care if you have strokes or whatever you have, you have to fight in this world to survive and do the right thing," said Torres.

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