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First of all, let's learn a little about who Randy Tavis is.


Randy Travis on stage

Harold Traywick, Randy Travis' father, was a country singer who wrote a few songs and even got on the radio in Monroe, a town near the family's home in Marshville, North Carolina. Harold paid for all three of his sons to take music lessons and built a music room with a stage in their home. By the time Randy was nine, he and his brother Ricky were performing regularly and taking part in contests. According to "Randy Travis: King of the New Country Traditionalists," Harold compiled scrapbooks filled with stories about the boys from local newspapers.

The darker side of the story is that Harold reportedly forced the boys to play even when they didn't want to. Harold had a bad reputation for drinking, and he was known to have a temper. He often screamed at the boys and also did the same to those in charge of the contests. As his sons got older, they acted out. Per "Randy Travis: King of the New Country Traditionalists," they became "high-spirited, hell-raising young troublemakers." Randy was arrested multiple times for breaking and entering, drinking and driving, and larceny. But through it all, he kept performing country music.

Young Randy Travis black and white

In 1977, Randy Travis and his brothers entered a music contest at a bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, called Country City USA. The winner would receive $100 and a session in a recording studio. This is where Randy met his eventual wife, Lib Hatcher-Travis. She was the manager of the club and had organized the contest. According to "Randy Travis: King of the New Country Traditionalists," Lib said, "When I heard Randy, I just sort of dropped the papers, and thought, 'This is something special.'" On the final night of the contest, it was just Randy on the stage because Ricky Travis was doing time in juvie. Randy won the contest.

Lib offered Randy a job at the club singing, washing dishes, and helping out in general. She also offered him a place to stay in her and her husband's mobile home. But Randy was waiting for a court date after being arrested for stealing cars and breaking and entering. Lib talked to the judge and convinced him that she would take custody of Randy, who was only 17 at the time, so the judge let Randy off with probation. According to CBN, Randy said of Lib, "Having her in court the last time, saying that I was not drinking, not using drugs, not running with the same people anymore that kept me from going to prison."


Randy Travis playing guitar


Randy Travis singing on stage


In the summer of 2013, Randy Travis suffered viral cardiomyopathy and flatlined, but doctors managed to revive him. However, he remained in a coma and suffered an undetected stroke that came to the doctors’ attention days later. 

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Travis needed part of his skull removed to create space for the swelling. After five-and-a-half months, Randy left the hospital ready to begin his rehabilitation. Unfortunately, another setback awaited Randy and his wife Mary Davis, who learned that Travis had Aphasia. The condition is common among people recovering from a stroke. 

Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. For most people, these areas are on the left side of the brain. Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often following a stroke or head injury, …

A music degree graduate named Tracy showed up at Travis’ home every day to help him recover his singing ability. She started by teaching him Amazing Grace. It took two months to get Travis to form the letter ‘A’, but after clearing that milestone, the other words came easily. 

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Some stroke victims such as Travis can recover their singing ability faster than regular speech since different parts of the brain control the two activities. 

Illustration of the brain's left side

“We spent probably six hours a day running through that song, trying to get through all four verses and learning the words. I think when I put the microphone in his hand, he became Travis again. It was absolutely beautiful.”

Randy Travis

A constant pillar of hope throughout his battle has been Mary, who he wed in 2015. In fact, it was Mary who was adamant about not removing Randy from life support when his health was at its worst, a new interview with Today revealed.

Mary Beougher and Randy Travis See the source image

“Even in his state, his semi coma state, he squeezed my hand and he laid there and I just saw this tear that fell and it was one tear at a time,” she said. “I just went back to the doctors and I said, ‘We’re fighting this.’”

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And fight they did—the Grammy-winning legend continues to improve his health, and just celebrated his 62nd  birthday. He’s even taken some steps back into the limelight,(1) Randy Travis Sings 'Amazing Grace' at Country Hall of Fame Induction - YouTube during his induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016 and released a new memoir in May 2019 titled, Forever and Ever, Amen.

What have we learned from Randy Travis, and his Stroke?

Stroke can happen to anyone, Stroke has no respective person.

Perseverance pays off.  It took Randy two months to be able to just form the letter A, and they would practice 6 hours a day to re-learn the words to Amazing Grace. So wherever you are in your Stroke recovery, never give up!!  Stroke Recovery only stops when you stop trying to Recover

There can be life after Stroke.  Randy, not only remarried, but wrote a Book.

There are no words to describe how important a Caregiver's Love is in Stroke Recovery.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.   Many opinions and viewpoints are based on my own Personal Stroke Recovery journey.  As every Stroke is different, so is every Stroke Recovery.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by the JGH Rehab website is solely at your own risk