Kirk says he owes his life to physical therapists

Greg Nash

Sen. Mark Kirk (D-Ill.) says he owes his life to the physical therapists who treated him after his major stroke in 2012.

“Having a stroke shouldn’t mean the end of a productive life,” Kirk told Time magazine as part of a feature that asked people what they are thankful for.

Kirk said he is grateful for the nearly 300,000 physical and occupational therapists in the country.

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“Physical and occupational therapists make a major difference in countless American’s lives, including the life of this U.S. Senator,” he said.

Kirk returned to the Senate in January, nearly a year after his stroke, and marked the occasion by climbing the 45 steps of the Capitol building.

Earlier this month, Kirk gave his first floor speech since his stroke and endorsed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which passed the Senate.

Kirk has also introduced a series of bills aimed at improving medical research and rehabilitation access for stroke victims.

A number of other lawmakers weighed in for Time’s Thanksgiving feature.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was thankful that a son of a bartender could ascend to his position.  

“That I, the son of a bartender, have been given the chance to contribute to this work in the city that Washington built is something for which I am forever thankful,” he said.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) had a similar sentiment with a note of caution. He said he is thankful for a nation that allowed for the success of his father, who died earlier this year.

“If I am to respect my father’s memory, I, like all adults, must clearly recognize the urgency of our time and the interdependence of our fates,” he said. “We must assume a deeper responsibility or we will lose the best of America.”

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who retired from Congress after being shot at a public event, said she is thankful for voters. She currently heads a group that advocates for gun control.

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