Paul Miller, a former professional photographer and poet, was working as a part-time security guard when he had a stroke. When numbness in his right arm and leg started, he drove himself to the nearby emergency room. There, it was confirmed—he was having a stroke.

After a brief stay at the hospital, he was transferred to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota where he discovered the hospital’s Creative Connections program. The Creative Connections program incorporates art therapy into the patient’s rehabilitation schedule. Due to his right arm being impaired by the stroke, he was forced to use his non-dominant arm to complete the painting activity. Linda Odom, the director of Creative Connections, motivated his creative spirit and helped him find a new love for painting.

Now, back at home, Paul continues to paint. He was recently surprised by his daughters at an art studio to celebrate his 80th birthday.

As part of Encompass Health’s national sponsorship with the AHA/ASA’s Together to End Stroke initiative, Paul’s artwork will be featured at the Tampa Bay Go Red for Women luncheon on Feb. 15.