The stroke left Jones' right side paralyzed, her speech impaired, and she was unable to do even such simple tasks as brushing her teeth.
That was two years ago.
Now, Jones, 41, rides the train from her home in Wynnewood to the Paoli Health and Fitness Clinic several days each week.
After being an inpatient at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital for months, Jones became an outpatient in March 1992, when she joined Fighting Back - a fitness program to help patients lead more active and productive lives.
"It's important to be able to come to a place like this because you feel like you're part of the real world again," Jones said as she worked out on Nautilus machines to strengthen her leg muscles.
For Jones and many other victims of catastrophic injuries or chronic illnesses, the Fighting Back program provides a special link.
"Fighting Back isn't for someone with a knee problem, but for people who have had life-changing accidents or illnesses," said Scott Dillman, who started Fighting Back in 1986.
"We bridge the gap between the rehabilitative hospital and an active lifestyle.
"I started as a fitness instructor, but saw a need (among) people who have been released from acute rehabilitation facilities and have no place else to go," said Dillman, a certified fitness instructor who also has a degree in psychology.
"When people leave a rehabilitative hospital after a stroke or serious injury, a lot of them don't have the confidence to go into a public setting like a fitness center without feeling self-conscious.
"Some people are self-conscious if they haven't exercised in a while; imagine how it feels if your left side doesn't work."
The Fighting Back program offers individual or group sessions. Dillman said the cost for the program, which varies in length depending on the injury, ranges from $15 to $50 a session.
He said that in some cases, medical insurance covers the cost. Scholarship money is available to assist some patients, but Dillman said all of that money has been used this year. He hopes to raise more through donations.
In the last seven years, Dillman, 29, has seen about 100 patients, most of whom have had strokes; spinal cord, brain or head injuries, or suffer from chronic back pain.
Many begin Fighting Back while they are outpatients at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation.
"Once patients are ready for a community setting, we come to Fighting Back," said Cindy Hontz, a physical therapist with Bryn Mawr.
"We can transition them knowing they will be supervised and monitored on a regular basis. (Fighting Back) can be much more aggressive out here with treatment than in a hospital setting because of the equipment."
Dillman said the patients were on individual programs on Nautilus machines, stationary bikes, the Stairmaster or the treadmill.
"You just can't hand people a sheet of exercises," he said.
"You have to start out slowly and with a lot of encouragement.
"We're not here to fix limbs that don't work, but to improve their overall health and strength."
Dillman said what's important is not what (function) the patients recover, but rather that they take advantage of what they have left.
Jeff Fries, 32, was a sports reporter for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville before a brain aneurysm changed his life in 1990.
"It happened while I was home visiting for Thanksgiving," said Fries of Lansdale.
"I was introduced to Fighting Back while I was at Bryn Mawr Rehab."
After completing his outpatient care, Fries continues to be part of the Fighting Back Team two days each week for an hour.
"It's great because I was to the point in my recovery where I needed to get more strength," said Fries, who lives with his parents in Lansdale.
"Bryn Mawr did a good job with getting my movement back, but I needed strength.
Before, my parents had to do everything for me.
Now they only have to help a little bit.
"It's very comforting and fun to come here, and you can see the results right away," Fries said.
"I used to hear a lot about what I can't do, but not here.
"Fighting Back has literally been the light at the end of the tunnel for me."
FOR MORE INFORMATION
* For more information call Scott Dillman at 889-1777.