WASHINGTON, DC (Aisha Chowdhry, WUSA9) -- Eight years ago, Andre Francisco was a 20-year-old junior in college.
It was a typical Friday night. Him and his roommates, were deciding the plans for the evening.
That's when the night took a dramatic turn.
"I lost..the use of my right arm and then I couldn't speak. And then I sat down, and we eventually got to the hospital, and it turns out I had a small stroke," says Andre Francisco.
Spencer Kornhaber was one of Francisco's roommates at the time. He recalls the events that led up to the stroke.
"He kind of puts the phone down...and he just looks sort of confused, and I was like 'what Andre what's going on' and he was like....he couldn't talk," said Kornhaber.
Francisco suspected that he had just suffered from a stroke and he took the first chance to communicate that to his roommates.
"Before I could speak I got my hand back and I was given somebody's study notes and I wrote in the back, one of the first things I wrote, 'If I was old, this would be a stroke' because I knew this was kind of similar to stroke symptoms but I thought it was impossible for me to have one because I was only 20," says Francisco.
He spent four days in the hospital surrounded by family and friends. He takes an Aspirin each day and also knows what triggered his stroke.
"The conclusion was they think it was a hole between the two sides of my heart," says Francisco.
To celebrate life, Andre throws a yearly bash. He invites all his friends over for a Stroke Day Party.
Francisco says, "Many people feel really uncomfortable saying 'Happy Stroke Day'. They like can't get over saying congratulations on that terrible traumatizing experience but I say that to other people, I consider it a happy stroke day and wish others a happy stroke day but people find it pretty weird."
The Stroke Day party is all about the delicious food, drinks and enjoying spending quality time with friends.
Francisco believes it is important to celebrate life and go the distance to maintain the friendships.
"Always saying yes, always saying yes to seeing that friend that wants to do something or to eating something that may be a little unusual or to going somewhere you've never been because maybe you won't get a chance to say yes again for a whole number of reasons, whether its sickness or a change in how your life is."
Francisco's stroke is just one of several different types of strokes. Most of them are largely preventable. If you can get them care within the first 3 hours of a symptom, there is an FDA-approved medicine than can actually help reduce long-term disability for most of the common cases of strokes.
Written and Reported by Aisha Chowdhry