CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A new support group at the University of Virginia Medical Center will give stroke survivors the chance to share their personal experiences and struggles with those who know what they're going through.

UVA is partnering with the Joe Niekro Foundation to launch the support group for patients who have had brain aneurysms and strokes. Joe Niekro was a Houston Astros pitcher who died in 2006 from an unexpected brain aneurysm. His daughter, Natalie, now travels the country to share the story of her late father.

"When I lost my dad, I really needed support and when I went looking online for a support group, I couldn't find one," Niekro said.

The Niekro Foundation held its first meeting at the University of Virginia Medical Center on Wednesday night to help people in the recovery stages connect with each other. Sandra Landazuri is one of those patients, after she suffered from a ruptured arteriovenous malformation, causing a stroke while on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall last November.

"I know a lot of patients have headaches and things like that beforehand but I had no idea," said strike survivor Sandra Landazuri. "All I felt was like fireworks going off, no sounds, but just black and white lights on the side and I collapsed."

Other stroke survivors like Alexis Crow feel the support group will be a great outlet to share experiences with people who have walked in her shoes.

"Having a group of people who have experienced this will be really helpful," Crow said.

Niekro hopes sharing her experience will inspire others to share their stories.

"I am very passionate about patients and their families in making sure that they're getting support during their recovery because it's a long journey and its a very difficult journey," Niekro said.

The support group is open to everyone and will meet every second Wednesday of the month at the University of Virginia Medical Center.