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Supermodel challenges stroke stereotypes in new PSA campaign

Dallas, Oct. 31, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Supermodel Claudia Mason doesn't look like most people's image of someone who has had a stroke, and that's exactly the point of her new print PSA campaign with the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

See video from American Heart Association and American Stroke Association here: http://inr.synapticdigital.com/AHA/strokeawareness

Mason, who has graced covers of Vogue, W, Mademoiselle, Elle, and Cosmopolitan, didn't expect to add "stroke survivor" to her list of 2011 credits.

After a vigorous dance class, Mason didn't have any unusual pain and had an uneventful night's sleep. But the next day a severe headache coupled with faulty vision alerted her that something was very wrong. Mason had suffered a tear in her vertebral artery - most likely in that dance class - that lead to an ischemic stroke.

"I never thought something like this could happen to a healthy, young adult," she said. "I always thought strokes were something only senior citizens with heart disease had."

Mason models the stroke solidarity string bracelet, the worldwide symbol for stroke, in the American Stroke Association's new print PSAs. The bracelet is available for $4.95 at StrokeAssociation.org with proceeds benefitting the cause.

"I understand that it's not easy to talk about stroke. I was silent for a long time about what happened to me. When I did talk about it, people didn't know how to react. They had questions, but were afraid to ask. Plus, if it happened to me, it could happen to them," she said. "This campaign shows people that you can overcome stroke."

The print campaign features three different looks, shot by photographer Olivia Owen.

"Claudia Mason is a woman who has great strength of character, she transcends this. Her determination not to be undone, to fight and overcome, and to speak out about stoke is inspiring. You cannot help but feel her beauty and her inner strength in every picture," Owen said.

Mason poses with Carolyn Brockington, M.D., the neurologist who treated her, in a fourth image with the headline "Together, to beat stroke."

"Beating stroke, together. That's exactly what we've done and what we'll continue to do," Mason said.

Media can download the print PSAs, designed by Beryl Creative, at localheart.org. For more information about stroke visit StrokeAssociation.org.

CONTACT: Jayme Sandberg Jayme.Sandberg@heart.org (214)706-2169 Source:American Heart Association/American Stroke Association