In 2017, Wake County's Jeffrey Marquis suffered a medical emergency that to this day, he considers himself lucky to be alive.
"It was a stressful time in my life," said Marquis.
He was 49 years old when he started experiencing numbness in his body.
"I dismissed it, which I shouldn't have," Marquis said. "The next day I had numbness in my left leg and then left side of my face. At that point, I realized something's going on and I need to go and seek medical attention."
Doctors in the emergency room said Marquis had suffered a stroke, and he spent several days in the hospital.
"That's something that I was very fortunate to rebound like I did. Not everybody is as lucky," said Marquis.
With October 29 marked as World Stroke Day, Marquis and others are using the day to spread awareness about stroke dangers and warning signs.
According to medical professionals, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading disability in the United States. In fact, about 800,000 people a year have a stroke.
"Do not ignore your symptoms even if they go away. They are a huge warning sign and you should seek medical attention right away," said Duke vascular neurologist Dr. Shreyansh Shah. "The immediate treatment of stroke will help minimize the long-term side effects of a stroke and even prevent that. That is why this acronym FAST is very important to remember."
The F.A.S.T. acronym for stroke signs is:
"Each minute you waste you're going to lose a large number of neurons in your brain and it is going to affect your health in a significant way," said Dr. Shah.
According to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, about one in four stroke survivors suffers a second stroke. Marquis and experts agree that it doesn't have to be that way.
"I think there are probably some things I could have done prior to help or enhance my lifestyle," said Marquis. "And what's even more interesting is I've been a volunteer with American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for many years. So I'm educated probably more than most. There is a higher risk after a stroke the first two weeks after, two months after, and the following year. So all that is behind me. And if I continue to monitor and do what I need to do, I should have a long and healthy life."
The American Stroke Association also allows users to take a selfie to see what their face would look like if they were to have a stroke. The website also encourages users to take a quiz on how well they can identify a stroke.