The funds, totaling $8,283, were raised during South Texas Health System’s 2022 Steps for Stroke challenge 

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and diabetes are the leading causes of stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with one in three U.S. adults having at least one of risk factors.

To help provide comprehensive healthcare to the underserved communities in the Rio Grande Valley, which studies have shown can help combat risk factors that may lead to stroke, South Texas Health System donated $8,283 to El Milagro Clinic, a non-profit organization in McAllen that provides healthcare services to Valley residents who are medically indigent.

The funds were raised through South Texas Health System’s Steps for Stroke challenge, a community competition held by the STHS Neurosciences and Stroke Institute. During the weeklong event, which aims to raise awareness about stroke and educate the public on ways to reduce their risk of having one, participants are encouraged to walk at least 10,000 steps a day for a minimum of five days.

El Milagro Clinic will use the donation to help fund primary care treatment for needy patients who don’t have insurance or access to healthcare and who may be at risk for stroke, as well as provide stroke education throughout the community.

“About 50% of our patient population is diabetic or pre-diabetic so we work closely with those individuals. Since stroke and diabetes go hand in hand, our staff members work hard to provide extensive education around the risk factors and warning signs of stroke, as well as stroke prevention education,” said Marisol Resendez, Executive Director, El Milagro Clinic. “It’s extremely important that everyone be aware of the signs of stroke and what we should be doing to prevent strokes.”

The non-profit organization’s work within the community is strongly enabled by partnerships forged with other organizations in the community, like STHS, that are also committed to providing disease prevention education.

“It’s important for us to build relationships with organizations like South Texas Health System that are committed to bettering the lives of the people of the Rio Grande Valley, especially those living in underserved communities,” said Romeo Benavidez, Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, El Milagro Clinic. “South Texas Health System’s gracious donation will go a long way in helping us guarantee access to healthcare and stroke education to the underserved.”

South Texas Health System’s Steps for Stroke challenge is held annually during National Stroke Awareness Month in May and encourages the community to stay active. Every dollar raised through the event is donated to local charities committed to helping those less fortunate get access to healthcare and disease prevention education. 

“For nearly 30 years, El Milagro Clinic has provided access to healthcare to thousands of patients who don’t have the means to visit the doctor regularly,” said Alejandra Ayala, Interim Director, South Texas Health System Neurosciences and Stroke Institute. “Following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and controlling risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes are key to reducing one’s risk of stroke. It’s important to see your doctor regularly if you have any risk factors for stroke, and the funds donated to El Milagro will give more people in the Valley an opportunity to do that.”

If you would like to participate in this year’s Steps for Stroke Challenge, which will take place from May 20-26, visit to register. 

About South Texas Health System  

South Texas Health System is a multi-facility healthcare system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four acute care facility campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Inpatient and outpatient treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’s South Texas Health System Behavioral facility. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only freestanding children’s facility and pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, the region’s only freestanding heart hospital and specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information about the system and its comprehensive services, please visit

 Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.