Saturday, August 23, 2014


A registered nurse says her patient, who cannot walk or talk, is motivating her to get healthy, lose weight and even participate in the 2014 Transamerica Chicago Triathlon on Sunday. 

Patrick Stein of north suburban Wilmette is making a life changing difference and his parents agree that he is one of a kind.

"He was the most social, friendly. I would call him the most Eddie Haskell salesmen I've ever met in my whole life and I love that about him," said Colleen Stein, Patrick's mother.

He recovered from a brain aneurism when he was 10 years old. He did not fare so well when he had another at 17 years old.

"The aneurism ruptured and he suffered a massive stroke and subsequently, he's in this condition, locked-in syndrome," said Nick Stein, Patrick's father.

With "locked in" syndrome, Patrick's brain is fully intact, but the former captain of his swim and water polo teams only has movement of his eyes. He communicates through a spellboard, looking up to indicate letters and spell out words.

Nurse Mary Jo Harte says the 21-year-old has no trouble making a point.

"I was just complaining about being overweight," she said. I've tried this. I've tried that. And he said to me, 'What are you complaining about? There are so many things you can do.' I also thought about it as there's just so much I can do compared to the choices he has."

Now, Harte is down 35 pounds and is training for her third triathlon coming up Sunday. She says during the toughest portions she will push through by relying on Patrick's encouraging words.

"All your strength and all your fear: it's in your head," she said.

Harte is using the triathlon as a way to raise money for Patrick's medical care. Costs run in excess of half-million dollars a year. 

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