Sean Maloney joins local board to advance stroke awareness in Silicon Valley

Updated:Apr 28,2014

Sean MaloneyFour years ago Sean Maloney was a top senior executive at Intel Corporation -- a well-respected leader, gifted speaker and innovator. Around Silicon Valley it was assumed he would take over as the next CEO at the high-tech firm in Santa Clara, CA. However, a stroke sidelined his career in February, 2010.

He then began a journey of recovery leading to a new personal passion. Maloney recently joined the board of directors of our Silicon Valley division and has become a spokesperson for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

"I used to think if you are young and fit you wouldn't have a stroke. But people of all ages and conditions have strokes,” he notes. “It’s important to know the risk factors. Get yourself checked out. Everyone’s situation is different, but it’s pretty clear if I’d had a carotid artery ultrasound sometime before my stroke, it would’ve been preventable.”

He was 54-years-old at the time of his stroke and an avid rower who was in excellent physical shape. But he had a grueling travel schedule and typically worked long hours. During his annual doctor visits, he recalls having slightly elevated blood pressure, a major risk factor, but disregarded it because he was otherwise in good health -- or so he thought. His stroke resulted from a clot in his left carotid artery, the primary supplier of blood on the left-side of the brain which controls the movement on the right side of the body. It severely impaired his speech.

A dedicated husband and father of six children, Maloney struggled each day to regain his speech and pushed closer towards making a full recovery, refusing to let a stroke permanently sideline his career aspirations.

“After a few days of having the stroke, all I could focus on was how I could return to work as quickly as possible,” recalls Maloney. “I knew I had to get back.” He accomplished that through self-determination and therapy and returned to work as chairman of Intel China. In that role he helped build strong relationships with personal computer makers, making frequent public appearances in Asia. In 2012, he retired leaving an enduring legacy at Intel and the entire PC industry.

As an AHA/ASA spokesperson he offers hope for other survivors and their families, advising them: “Never give up! Continued recovery is possible with determination and perseverance."