This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 19, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, 76-year-old Dick Clark is a New Year's Eve icon. For 32 years, he hosted "New Year's Rocking Eve" on ABC before missing last year because he suffered a stroke. But Mr. Clark was back for a short appearance this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CLARK, TV PERSONALITY: It's good to be back with you again this year. Last year, I had a stroke that left me in bad shape. I had to teach myself how to walk and talk all over again. It was a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I'm getting there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
With us now is a Doctor Olajide Williams, the director of the Stroke Initiative at Harlem Hospital here in New York City.
This is a tough one, you know. I mean, you're looking at a guy who I grew up with, millions of Americans grew up with, and he's out there and he's obviously suffering. Should he have made this exposition, in your opinion?
OLAJIDE WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR, STROKE INITIATIVE AT HARLEM HOSPITAL: Well, yes. In my opinion, I think what he did was extremely courageous. I think what he did was a great inspiration to the six million stroke survivors that have gone through recovery and some of them greatly tormented by their disabilities. To see Mr. Clark doing what he did I think was an inspiration to them.
O'REILLY: How — how does it inspire people who have stroke damage to see a guy like Dick Clark going through this kind of a thing?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think that he probably is coming from a very far place. I think that his deficits and his disability probably must have been much more profound than it is now. A lot of people, after an acute stroke, after a stroke, suffer language damage and speech impediment can literally have no speech whatsoever.
O'REILLY: OK. So he's made progress, you're saying.
WILLIAMS: He's made great progress.
O'REILLY: But the audience doesn't know that. All the audience sees is a guy who's struggling to even speak.
WILLIAMS: Exactly. And that's also a great thing for stroke awareness. I think one of the things that we need to do is to raise the awareness of stroke amongst the public.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disabilities in the United States. It's a No. 3 cause of death. Stroke occurs every 45 seconds. And yet very few people really understand stroke, and very few people actually take the time to ask their doctors, their physicians, "Am I at risk for stroke?"
O'REILLY: It's high blood pressure, primarily, driven? Correct?
WILLIAMS: High blood pressure is one of the risk factors. Smoking is another risk factor. Diabetes is another risk factor. Those are three prominent risk factors. But I think what Mr. Clark did at a time on New Year's Eve, when millions and millions of Americans...
O'REILLY: They're locked in on him. You bet.
WILLIAMS: I think that he did a great service to stroke awareness across the world.
O'REILLY: OK. Now Kirk Douglas, the actor, the legendary actor, also had suffered a stroke and has been in movies. And I think this is a courageous guy, as well, Kirk Douglas, because it would have been easy for both Mr. Clark and Mr. Douglas to just basically retire from public eye, as some people have done. Do you put Douglas in the same category?
WILLIAMS: Yes. Absolutely. I think it's very important when you're going through such psychologically — quite literally psychologically catastrophic period, and when you're recovering from stroke, I think it's important for the individuals to have goals, to continue to live as best they could, continue to do the things that they enjoy, to continue to pursue their dreams right up until the end.
O'REILLY: Fight to the end...
WILLIAMS: Fight to the end.
O'REILLY: ... and you can get better?
O'REILLY: You know, it would be interesting. I'd like to see Dick Clark do it again next year to see — to measure his progress. I think that would be interesting.
Somebody said to me, today, you know, "I wanted to remember Dick Clark the way he was, you know, as the all American teenager, the guy that never aged, this and that." And now, I think people felt uneasy. Is it wrong for people to feel uneasy?
WILLIAMS: No. I don't think so. I think — I think what's important is that people who do feel uneasy, I think at the same time as they are feeling uneasy, I think they should ask important questions as to their own stroke risks, the risks of their families.
O'REILLY: To check it out.
WILLIAMS: To check it out.
O'REILLY: You believe that stroke is preventable in most cases?
WILLIAMS: Eighty percent...
O'REILLY: Eighty percent?
WILLIAMS: Eight percent of strokes are preventable. Four in five American families are touched by stroke. However, stroke seems to be one of the most misunderstood diseases.
WILLIAMS: Just because of the many faces that it has.
O'REILLY: So you're — and 700,000 Americans will get strokes this year. Your advice is to learn about it. And then if you're in a high risk category, then manage it even more?
O'REILLY: All right.
WILLIAMS: I think information is the key.
O'REILLY: And Dick Clark certainly brought attention to his condition and put stroke in the headlines. And that's why we have you hear, Doctor. And happy New Year to you. Thank you very much.
WILLIAMS: Happy New Year. Thank you very much.
O'REILLY: Nice to see you.
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