Allison Pataki and her husband, David Levy, are passionate about raising awareness of the difficulties of life after a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Five months pregnant, on a flight to their “babymoon,” Allison Pataki turned to her husband when he asked if his eye looked strange and watched him suddenly lose consciousness. After an emergency landing in Fargo, North Dakota, she learned David had suffered a rare, life-threatening stroke and might not survive the night. Over the next year, Allison continued writing letters to her husband, as he struggled with memory retention throughout his remarkable recovery. Those letters became the basis for Allison’s memoir, Beauty in the Broken Places. Her book reveals personal experiences of health, grief, loss and family crises.
In the interview, Allison and David discuss how a stroke can affect the whole family, not just the stroke survivor. They also explain how their life is different now post David's stroke. “The life we knew, Dave, before the stroke — that’s gone . . . ” she wrote in a note to her husband one year after his stroke. “It’s all been replaced by something new and different . . . but, as different as the world and the family and the people in it may appear, things can still be good.”