My Stroke Story - Sen Omer Rains.

: California

: At the age of 61, former California Senator Omer Rains suffered a brain aneurysm and hemorrhagic stroke. After 7.5 hours of brain surgery, Rains beat the odds and survived. He chronicles his story of recovery in which he learned to walk again—and his previous life on the international stage of politics and big business—in his book Back to the Summit (Morgan James, 2011). From humble beginnings—picking cotton at age eleven to supplement the family’s income—Rains struck out on his own at age 15 and rose to incredible heights fueled by a powerful mix of passion, tenacity and sheer will. He eventually played a part in some of the most fascinating events of the 20th century, from the Camp David Accords of the late 1970s when he met with Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat to consulting for the South African Constitutional Revision Commission at the invitation of Nelson Mandela. Yet it is the aneurysm and associated hemorrhagic stroke, and his white-knuckle recovery from paralysis, that worked to shape Rains’ life and worldview more profoundly than any of the people, places or events that came before. In trying to walk—and live again—Rains reveals the brave wisdom that you must fail first before you can truly succeed. And Rains sets the bar for “success” high: achievement beyond all expectations and commitment to changing the world for the better. Today Rains continues to draw on his passion and determination to lead a life that is dedicated to humanitarian activities around the globe. This includes building libraries and economic development and sustainability projects in rural and remote parts of Nepal, India and Bhutan. One of the organizations for which he currently serves as Board Chair is Rural Education and Development (READ) Global (, on which he and his colleagues partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In “Back to the Summit,” Rains takes readers on a courageous journey toward recovery, both physical and spiritual, as he reflects on the people, events, and American history that shaped his life and gave him the strength to dare to walk again. Every flashback to the past offers insight into the philosophy that throughout his life has defined his every action: “When you get knocked down, pick yourself up and forge forward—always forward.” Every story of the hardships and obstacles faced offers hard-earned lessons to overcoming challenges, no matter how great. Those who have suffered physical trauma may find hope in his story; their loved ones may gain insight and understanding. And any reader who has ever faced a mountain of a setback may be inspired to keep on fighting to live again.

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