Posted By: Rachael Miner

When a person has a stroke every second counts.

Correctly and quickly diagnosing a patient can mean the difference between partial immobility and a full recovery.

"There is limited access to healthcare in our area. The squads for EMS are volunteer they don't have the education and haven't had the opportunity to get the education needed to take care of stroke patients like myself," said Jill Duisi, a stroke survivor. 

Duisi had a stroke nearly 20 years ago in rural Southern Nebraska.

She was given TPA, a drug used to dissolve blot clots, and it saved her life.

Not all small town physicians have access to such drugs or the proper education to quickly diagnosis strokes, but the Helmsley Charitable Foundation is changing that.

"We'll work with every critical access hospital, ever major hospital, every EMS agency to help improve stroke care," said Walter Panzirer, a trustee with the foundation. 

Tuesday morning the foundation gifted $6.5 million to the American Heart Association. 

The money will be used to educate first responders, physicians, and care providers at hospitals across Nebraska on strokes and create a set of guidelines for quickly and effectively treating patients.

"Patients that have a stroke it doesn't matter where you live as to whether they live and that they'll get the same care, consistent care throughout the state," said Beth Malina, with the American Heart Association. 

The donation will ensure proper medical care is given to all patients and make sure more stroke patients in rural areas like Duisi receive lifesaving medication quickly, "It's a gift that will continue to give on giving Nebraskans."