Winkler in Triangle to promote treatment for stroke victims
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RALEIGH -- Actor Henry Winkler, best known for his role as as "The Fonz" from "Happy Days" stopped by the News 14 Carolina studios Tuesday.
He was in the area to educate people about upper limb spasticity, or ULS.
ULS is a condition that affects more than one million Americans, primarily stroke survivors. It causes muscle restriction and some patients lose the ability to use their arms and legs.
Winkler's mother suffered from the muscle stiffness condition, and now he travels with the Open Arms program educating people about the benefits of botox as a solution.
"It would have changed her entire sense of living. It would have given her a sense of joy, because the fact is that she was in paint constantly," Winkler said.
Stroke survivor Minnie Feaster was one of many who came out to see Winkler speak at WakeMed. She went more than 10 years without walking. For her, the botox got her out of a wheelchair.
"I couldn't move my arm before the botox," Feaster said. "Because of the botox I can now walk and move my left arm as of last year," Feaster said.
Now she's making strides at regaining mobility in her arms and fingers too.
Feaster gets 500 units of botox injections every three months. At first, she was scared. Now she said it's worth it.
"The needle is so long. I thought oh my goodness! I cannot deal with that! I get nervous because I know it will hurt. It is painful," Feaster said.
Winkler said that he gets gratification from knowing that he's helping people become educated about the botox solution.
"It makes me feel incredibly great when I see these people and the light in their eyes just shine," said Winkler.
The botox injections are currently not covered by most insurance companies. Winkler and the Open Arms program are working to get that changed.
Watch Winkler's interview with News 14 Carolina's Marti Skold here.