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She woke from a coma. Voting today is her final step in regaining a normal life

For Sonia Byrd, a stroke forced doctors to induce a coma to bring down brain swelling. It kept her from casting a ballot in the election of November 2016.
 
Published Aug. 28, 2018

After waking from a coma, Sonia Byrd had to re-learn what she once considered basic tasks.

"It took me eight months to walk again," she said. "I had to learn to read, drive and talk, too."

A stroke had forced doctors to induce the coma to bring down brain swelling, Byrd said, but now her health is fine.

"I feel like I am almost back to my old self," she said.

Full normalcy will return today, Byrd said, when she casts a ballot in the primary election.

The 41-year-old Democrat said she was a regular voter but missed the election in November 2016.

She came out of the coma in late September but felt the effects for some time longer. Those taking care of her didn't think she'd be up for a trip to the polls.

"I was upset," Byrd said. "I wanted to vote. I was real depressed."

She plans to vote in the primary at Allen Temple AME Church in Ybor City and has a message for anyone thinking of sitting out this election.

"Every vote does matter, and it is your duty," she said. "Some people want to but cannot. I am so excited that I get to participate in something so important. I will feel normal."