Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois releases powerful video of recovery from stroke

Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois, made his first public appearance Tuesday since suffering a stroke in January by releasing a YouTube video filled with powerful scenes from his intensive rehabilitation program as a way to update viewers on his recovery.

"I suffered a stroke on the 21st of January, and thanks to the doctors, nurses and professionals at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago--the R.I.C.--I'm walking again," Kirk says, as videos of him fighting to walk flash across the screen. He adds that his "hope" is to "to climb the 45 steps that my staff counted from the parking lot to the Senate front door to fight for the people of Illinois."

"I want to thank everyone, especially for the patience they have given me to recover from a big stroke," Kirk says, his voice halting.

Kirk has refused all news interviews, making Tuesday's video the first time the public has seen him since the stroke.

Kirk's staff as well as his colleagues in Congress and others have issued updates on his progress after suffering an ischemic stroke in January and subsequently undergoing skull surgery to relieve swelling around his brain.

Many have attested in the previous months to his mental acuity, stressing that Kirk's biggest challenges are physical.

Kirk and his staff have offered no timeline regarding his return to Congress.

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