Hospital staff helps 18-year-old stroke survivor vote for the first time

YONKERS — Amoonthays Khrisat Velazquez voted at the polling location on Hamilton Avenue in Yonkers for the first time. But the 18-year-old’s journey to get there from Blythedale children’s hospital has been a bit difficult.

“I had my second stroke. The first one I had was when I was 11. My second one now, I am 18. Bummer. I had it two weeks ago. So, now I’m trying to get back up on my feet and I’m trying to go and vote,” Velazquez said.

She left the Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla where she is currently receiving treatment for the stroke she endured and went to her registered polling location at Renee Burke Senior Housing to cast her ballot with some help from her community.

Hospital staff helped her read and research the candidates using a special font to help with her poor vision. She made a list with candidates she liked. The hospital staff also made special accommodations and provided transportation to the polling site. She says health care was a big factor.

“Healthcare primarily because if you look at me, I’m in a hospital! This is what it’s about. How am I going to get my insurance covered? Do I even have insurance? So on, so forth,” she said.

As soon as she turned 18 last April, she registered to vote online and wants kids to know it’s important to vote to know you had a say in who gets elected.