Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute
Our Stories


When Sue Harrison made a morning trip to Hoag for her ailing father in September 2019, she didn’t expect to make another the same night for her mother. That morning, her father, Karl Spinner, had woken up struggling to breathe. His wife, Mary Spinner, called 911, and he was rushed in an ambulance to Hoag, where he was admitted for complications from congestive heart failure.

By the time Sue returned home for the evening, she noticed her mother, Mary, was not acting like her normal self. She seemed disoriented. 

“My mom was acting odd,” Sue recalled. “I thought at first she was exhausted from the day or her blood sugar was low.”

Soon, Sue and her two sisters suspected their mother had a stroke. They rushed Mary back to Hoag, where their suspicions were confirmed. She’d suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke and would need brain surgery.

“All of this was the same day our father was a few floors upstairs fighting for his life,” Sue said.

“The days turned into weeks that both were being cared for at Hoag under the most outstanding and genuinely caring teams we’ve ever encountered.”

Mary’s brain surgery was successful but left her needing to relearn tasks like brushing her teeth, eating and walking. But she improved daily, which Sue credits to Hoag’s staff. When Mary was admitted to the Fudge Family Acute Rehabilitation Center, the family was elated.

The staff at the Center started Mary’s rehabilitation the same day.

“We were just in awe. They all had their different roles, and they would show us how to do things because we were going to be caring for her,” Sue said.

It was a place envisioned by the Fudge family after generous donor Gary Fudge suffered a stroke in 2010 and was treated at Hoag. Gary fought his way back from the hemorrhagic stroke, but when it came time to find local rehabilitation facilities, his family found there were few options that met the quality standards they were accustomed to at Hoag.

While Hoag’s inpatient program was one of the top ranked in the nation, patients had to look elsewhere for post-acute stroke rehabilitation. Thanks to the Fudge family’s transformative $4 million gift, Hoag changed that, and the Center opened in 2018 with a team of experts, including physicians, physical therapists, rehabilitation nurses, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists.

Today, thanks to Gary’s extraordinary support, thousands of Hoag patients, like Mary, can receive a full spectrum of care.

“They pushed her, and she responded so well,” Sue said.

Mary eventually went home with a daughter to continue her recovery. Her husband had unfortunately passed away, but nine months after her stroke, she returned to living independently. It was a victory Mary’s family says was possible because of Hoag’s community of supporters who ensure the hospital has the best care treatments available.

“She wouldn’t be where she is without the intense rehab she got at the Fudge facility,” Sue said.

To learn more about supporting Hoag’s continued brain and spine care advancements through philanthropy, visit: https://www.hoaghospitalfoundation.org/neurosciences-fundraising-priorities/

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