Pat will always be remembered as a “fierce advocate” for whatever cause she believed in. This is one of many things that made Pat Dando such a unique and special person.”
-Chuck Toeniskoetter, Founding Member of SAF
“Some people we encounter in our lives serve to inspire. Truly inspire. Some not so much. Some of those truly inspiring people teach as well. Pat Dando was a teacher by profession, but also quietly taught through her actions in so many ways. She was clearly here to inspire, to teach and to love.
Pat was a very likable, intelligent and consummate professional likely stemming from her early Texas upbringing where “best foot forward” meant something.
She was an incredible family woman. Despite always active and engaged in San Jose after she and Bob raised their three children including 10 years as an elected member of the city council last serving as vice mayor, a stint with Governor Schwarzenegger as his local government liaison and then a 6-year run as the CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, her number one priority remained her family. Her husband Bob who she loved dearly, their children and their children’s children were the most important part of her life. When I would chat with Pat, she would always give me an update on this, that or the other Dando-family goings-on. Such a wonderful “family” person.
She was always personable, gracious and honest while equally principled, fearless and tenacious. She was inextricably dedicated as a champion of San Jose—to our greater community and certainly to our community’s health as she co-founded the Stroke Awareness Foundation on the heels of her suffering a stroke nearly 15 years ago.
In 2005, the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce lost its then CEO Jim Cunneen to pursue another career path. As the Chamber’s Board Chair at the time, I assembled a group of 13 community leaders to serve on a selection committee to identify a new CEO. While there were plenty of names to consider, Pat’s was the only one the group really wanted–unanimously. Now, wrestling away a close advisor from Gov. Schwarzenegger was not necessarily an easy task, far from it. But we put on the full court press and thanks to Pat’s love of San Jose, she chose the Chamber. Thank God.
The Chamber’s building at the corner of Santa Clara and Market—the corner of “main and main” in our downtown—stands tribute to Pat’s drive and desire to seed the San Jose Chamber’s historic past with its bright future, permanently. Just as she did with SAP Center, originally San Jose Arena, that she fought for so very hard. Just two of other physical monuments that, today, stand in honor of Pat Dando.
Our city, our community has lost a dear friend in Pat Dando. I am so grateful that my life was touched by hers—and I am a better person because of her. All she encountered would agree. She was a wonderful lady and a true class act who will be missed very, very much.”
“Pat was a notable icon for the City of San Jose and a true champion of Stroke Care. She was instrumental in bringing about change to the Santa Clara County EMS Triage System for stroke patients and made a huge impact on stroke care in our county. In the process, she changed the direction of my career to become focused on the cause and treatment of stroke.
During her health challenges, she gave precedence to her mission by ensuring that all residents of Santa Clara County have access to the best available stroke treatment.
She left us too soon and I will personally miss her very much. May God grant peace to her soul and we offer our prayers to her and her family.”
-Harmeet Sachdev, MD, Neurology and Advisory Member of SAF Board of Directors
Pat Remembered: Read the article about her featured in the San Jose Mercury News.
Pat Dando’s Stroke Story and Her Legacy
On November 13, 2001, San Jose City Councilwoman Pat Dando awoke to find her right arm and leg numb. Thinking she must have just slept in an awkward position, Pat dismissed the possibility of anything more serious. However, when she tried to get out of bed, she knew something was wrong and sought immediate medical attention.
By sheer luck, her husband Bob was able to quickly drive her to San Jose’s Good Samaritan Hospital, one of the few hospitals in the country with an active stroke program and a 24-hour stroke team. Within minutes, Dando received the necessary CAT scan and it was determined that she had experienced an ischemic stroke.
Dando credits her complete recovery to the quick assessment, state-of-the-art technology and quality treatment offered at Good Samaritan. She spent one week in the hospital and ten days in a rehabilitation program on her path to recover. “Four months later, I had absolutely no residual effects from experiencing a stroke,” she says.
Pat later learned that more than 750,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year. Unfortunately, most people neither recognize the symptoms of stroke nor realize that getting treatment within the first three hours of symptoms is essential for a full recovery. Stroke can result in paralysis, numbness and the inability to speak. These complications often rob people of their ability to care for themselves and live independent lives.
Several well-meaning colleagues advised Dando not to go public with her story, out of concern that knowledge of her stroke would harm the reputation she earned as a powerful and well-respected leader in Silicon Valley. Fortunately, Dando felt differently. She viewed her experience as another opportunity to improve the quality of life in her community.
Dando met with stroke survivors Charles Toeniskoetter and Charles E. Hoffman in 2002, and the three founded the Stroke Awareness Foundation (SAF) soon after. The team set out with the goal of reducing the occurrence of stroke and ensuring that stroke patients receive the best medical care possible in Santa Clara County.