Jonny and Amy Wooddell, founders of National Orange Popsicle Week, talk about raising awareness about strokes in young people

Amy: Physical therapy assistant  
Jonny: Project manager at a creative agency

Twitter handle: @nopw_

Hometown: (West) Shawnee

Current neighborhood: (West) Shawnee. We both grew up out here in the sticks but are in the city all the time.  

What I do:
Amy: As a PTA, I help people get better after getting sick, having surgery, and/or an injury. My patients often call it torture but I like to think I help make them stronger and more independent. I am only able to accept that they consider it torture because I myself have been through very difficult physical rehabilitation. When I was 24, I had a brainstem stroke, leaving me completely motionless. I had to relearn everything. When I could first talk again, all I wanted was an orange popsicle, so we, Jonny and I, started National Orange Popsicle Week to raise awareness of stroke in young people. Know the signs of a stroke … even in young people! F.A.S.T.: Face droop, Arm weakness, Slurred speech, Time to call 911.
Jonny: Creative agency life. Make bad things look good.

What’s your addiction?
Amy: Lattes and orange popsicles.
Jonny: One-liners and getting distrac …

What’s your game?
Amy: To love and help people
Jonny: I don’t think Amy understood the question. Risk. Definitely Risk.

What’s your drink?
Amy: A mocha freeze with almond milk from Homer’s Coffee House in Overland Park. Delicious! It’s like coffee and dessert all in one.  
Jonny: Arnold Palmer.

Where’s dinner?
Amy: Teocali
Jonny: The Funnel Cake Truck

What’s on your KC postcard?
Amy: The J.C. Nichols Fountain in the evening, when it is dyed orange for NOPW on May 21 to raise awareness of stroke in young people.
Jonny: A drone shot of the massive amounts of cars that will show up at the NOPW16 Auto Show on May 28 at the Olathe Bass Pro from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Finish these sentences: “Kansas City got it right when …”
Amy: They gave the Kansas City Ballet a new building!
Jonny: 90.9 the Bridge moved into town.

“Kansas City needs …”
Amy: To know about National Orange Popsicle Week and know the signs of a stroke, even in young people.
Jonny: A Super Bowl ring.

“In five years, I’ll be …”
Amy: Hopefully a mother. We are trying to adopt!
Jonny: Your huckleberry.

“I’ve been known to binge watch …”
Amy: Parenthood.
Jonny: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Same thing as Parenthood, pretty much.

“I can’t stop listening to …”
Amy: Elle King’s “America’s Sweetheart” and Mandisa’s “Overcomer.”
Jonny: Sturgill Simpson

“My dream concert lineup is …”
Amy: Taylor Swift, Rachel Platten and Carrie Underwood
Jonny: Ryan Adams covering Creed.

“I just read …”

Amy: Yes Please by Amy Poehler.
Jonny: A couple sentences of The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson.

What’s your hidden talent?
Amy: The ability to hide from people in social settings.
Jonny: Dog whisperer. Seriously.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Amy: Don’t judge … budgeting.
Jonny: Grand Theft Auto. Sometimes you just need to hijack a car and shake things up a little.

The best advice I ever got:
Amy: You progress the most when you are the most fatigued.
Jonny: Do your best, leave the rest.

Worst advice?
Amy: You progress the most when you are the most fatigued. I mean, it’s very true, but seriously who wants to hear that?
Jonny: You’ll be OK. Being OK is boring.

My sidekick?
Amy: Harvey, our mini orange popsicle, who is Chester’s (our 11-foot popsicle) mini-me.
Jonny: My sidekick is our Siberian husky, Koda.

Who is your hero?
Amy: My husband, who stood by my side after having a stroke. We had only been married four months. After spending a month in the ICU with me, in rehab he encouraged me to get stronger. He encouraged me to work hard. He encouraged me to keep my faith in God. He was my rock and played a big role in keeping me in one piece over the last six years.
Jonny: My dad. He was my rock when I had to be Amy’s.  

Who (or what) is your nemesis?
Amy: Ice cream, because I am lactose intolerant.
Jonny: Jason Sudeikis. YOU KNOW WHY, JASON! YOU KNOW WHY!

What’s your greatest struggle right now?
Amy: Having the energy to live life to the fullest. As a stroke survivor, I know how precious life is, but as a residual effect, I fatigue easily and quickly. It can be tough to balance the two.
Jonny: When you’re having a serious conversation with someone and they unknowingly quote a lyric in a song … not blurting out in song during the serious conversation. That’s what I struggle with.

My favorite toy as a child:
Amy: My Barbie-doll convertible.
Jonny: Micro Machines. “Remember, if it doesn’t say Micro Machines, it’s not the real thing!” Just an amazing slogan. Lincoln Logs were a big hit as well.

My dating triumph/tragedy?
Amy: Before we started dating for the second time, my now-husband, then-boyfriend sent me a heart-shaped rock with “Forever Love” engraved on it because when he said he loved me (two years after we broke up), I said “I’ll believe it when I see it in stone.” It was pretty cute. He is such a charmer.
Jonny: I once dated a girl who said, “I’ll believe it when I see it in stone.” I had to look all over for a freaking rock that looked like a heart, buy a dremel, and carve out “Forever Love” on it. Gosh.

My brush with fame:
Amy: When I sat in the Buck O’Neil seat at Kauffman Stadium in May 2014.
Jonny: One time, I was at a Steel Dragon concert and the lead singer, Bobby Beers, pointed at me and told me to come up and sing with him. Later, the guitarist for Steel Dragon called me and asked to come audition as their new lead singer. They loved me. It was a whole big thing. No, not really. … I was a chauffeur once and I drove a bunch of famous people around.

My soapbox:
Amy: Texting while driving! Don’t even get me started. Put your phone down while driving. People, the internet, Facebook, Instagram, whatever it is, it’s going to be there when you get home!
Jonny: I agree with her.

My recent triumph:
Amy: I found that if you put “original” Listerine in a spray bottle and spray it around your patio, it helps keep the bugs away. Oh, yeah, and May 23 will be the sixth anniversary of my stroke.
Jonny: Raising enough money to put on these two large events for National Orange Popsicle Week. We are giving away two Apple watches … so you should come May 21 to the orange J.C. Nichols Fountain and May 28 to the NOPW16 Auto Show at Bass Pro Olathe.

Categories: News, Questionnaire