MCGREGOR, Minn. -

The Retreat and Refresh Camp is a national program that holds camps across the country for stroke victims and their caregivers.

They share stories of struggles and triumphs, but most importantly they listen to one another.

Wayne and Connie Pastir can smile now, but it took a long time to get here after Wayne suffered numerous strokes fifteen years ago.

"Life was coming to a screeching halt, really a screeching halt for us," said Connie.

795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year and dealing with them can be isolating.

That's when Wayne and Connie found the Refresh and Retreat Stroke Camp.

"We just were looking for something different in our lives, something to do that was kind of like we used to do things, something more social," said Connie.

The camp is held at several locations throughout the country and the year and it was brought to northern Minnesota for the first time by St. Luke's in Duluth

"This is a fine place to come," said Wayne.

Survivors and caregivers shared their stories, how far they've come together, and sometimes are just a hand to hold.

"I'm not alone. She's (Connie) a stalwart in the family. She puts up with an awful lot of nonsense. I love her dearly," said Wayne.

Mike Wallschaeger and his wife drove six hours to their first camp. They're excited for their second.

"The hardest thing about a stroke is not so much the stroke survivor, it's the stroke caregiver. They put up with you 24 hours a day seven days a week," said Wallschaeger.

A former runner in the Grandma's Half Marathon, Wallschaeger is now running his longest race.

"Every year when Grandma's comes around I feel sad inside but what I take from the camp was that there are people just like me who lost more," said Wallschaeger.

Some have lost motor skills and cognitive abilities, but they haven't lost hope.

"It's a joy getting up everyday and enjoying the gift of life," said Wallschaeger.

"Just keep your head up. It's not the end. It's a journey. It's a long journey," said Pastir.

Around forty caregivers and survivors attended the camp in McGregor.