Remarkable Women 2020: High Point 2-time stroke survivor brings awareness to mental health, substance use, domestic violence

Remarkable Women

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Janet Riley-Wright thought Jan. 30, 2016, would be her last day on earth.

“I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t totally pinpoint the something, and when my mother kissed me, I looked at my daughter and I just said call 911. I’m not going to make it,” she said.

She had a stroke after the 8 a.m. church service she attended.

She couldn’t speak, but she could hear people praying over her.

“I remember at one point, I actually closed my eyes and asked for forgiveness and I thought that was it. I never thought I would open my eyes again,” Riley-Wright said.

She went through a recovery process, including learning how to walk again.

It was like the recovery she went through after having a stroke in 2012.

Those experiences are part of why Riley-Wright doesn’t take time for granted.

“Being more intentional about what it means for me to be born and for me to die and that timeframe, I want to know that I’d done something,” she said.

Most people don’t know Riley-Wright is a two-time stroke survivor.

She is best known as a community advocate who brings awareness to mental health, substance use, and domestic violence.

After working at a domestic violence shelter in the early 90s, Riley-Wright worked her way up into leading the domestic violence program and doing court advocacy.

“Children are our smallest voices and they don’t really have a voice when things are going on and happening in their lives sometimes. Just being able to be of assistance to empower, to encourage, to uplift and to change negative situations is always a positive thing to be able to do,” she said.

Riley-Wright chairs The African American Initiative of United Way of Greater High Point.

Some of the group’s community outreach includes hosting forums that address local violence.

Riley-Wright became emotional when asked about being selected as one of the Piedmont Triad’s “Remarkable Women” finalists – saying it means so much to have her work noticed.

Riley-Wright was nominated by her son.

FOX8 is recognizing the great contributions women have made to our nation and local communities. Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.

FOX8 has chosen four finalists who will be considered for Nexstar’s nationwide 2020 Woman of the Year Award. One local winner will be selected to earn a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York City to attend a taping of The Mel Robbins Show. The national winner will be named in mid-March.

Please also follow the Remarkable Women Facebook page here for stories about these Remarkable Women across the country!

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