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Martin “Leigh Shannon” Fugate Sets Goal To Help Others Recognize Signs Of Stroke

Leigh Shannon Recently Opened Up About His Own Stroke Recovery

Local businessman, entertainer, and former candidate for City Commissioner, Martin “Leigh Shannon” Fugate is still processing the effects that an unexpected stroke had on his life late last year.

After entering the race for Orlando’s District 3 City Commissioner seat, Leigh was forced to exit the campaign and take two weeks off from entertaining the community for a bit, after a stroke suddenly derailed his political plans. Leigh was working one night on his run for Orlando District 3 City Commissioner when he felt his right knee go out at the door, and felt very odd. After taking two aspirin and going to hospital, the next day doctors discovered that he had a mild stroke. Leigh then spent four days in the hospital and later went home to recover. While Leigh continued to perform at Hamburger Mary’s and operate his College Park business, “Ritzy Rags & More,” the grueling nature of the campaign trail proved to be too much, and he decided to withdraw from the race.

As May is Stroke Awareness Month, Leigh hopes that by sharing his story, he will aid others in recognizing the signs of a stroke.

In January, “Leigh Shannon” celebrated 46 years in show business by hosting a very special “Leigh Shannon’s Cabaret Dinner Show” at Hamburger Mary’s on Church Street in downtown Orlando. The special event also served as a fundraiser to help another beloved citizen of College Park. Miss Cherylann Murphy Ponziano is a College Park resident, mother, grandmother and very fun lady who won over the hearts of locals while working as a cashier at Publix. Sadly, Miss Ponziano suffered a massive stroke late last year, leaving her facing many challenges. While she is now on the mend, Leigh’s fundraiser helped to offset the cost of her increased financial burdens, healthcare costs, and sudden changes to her way of life, raising a total of $2750.00 for Miss Ponziano.

Watermark Media recently featured a cover story on Leigh Shannon and his journey through a minor stroke, which can be found HERE.

While he is doing well and has been able to return to work with little physical side effects, Leigh still wonders what caused the stroke. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two main causes of stroke: a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Some people may have only a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain, known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), that doesn't cause lasting symptoms.

Unofficially, after discussions with his medical professionals, Leigh speculates that a previous diagnosis of Covid-19, prior to being vaccinated, may have contributed to the underlying causes. Leigh feels as though he suffers from time to time with the after effects of both Covid-19 and the stroke. He has quite more to tell in relation to his healthcare journey.

Leigh’s main goal now is to make people more aware of stroke symptoms, and to highlight the urgency of recognizing these signs. There is an extreme need to get to E.R. as soon as you feel any symptoms at all. Signs to look out for include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.

Now, doctors can reverse some strokes if treated within 4 hours. Most people do not know this.

After his stroke, Leigh struggled with the feelings of depression and disappointment and told no one other than very close friends. He worked hard everyday on his own to return to himself. Leigh opened up and shared this story at the past January fundraiser, and continues to keep a focus on stroke awareness.

If you would like to know more about Leigh’s story, please reach out. It is his hope that others may recognize the signs of stroke, and that others may be helped while on the road to stroke recovery.


For more information on Leigh Shannon, visit his website: www.leighshannon.com.

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