When I had my stroke, I was totally unaware that the Stroke Foundation even existed. I was certainly not given any information that could lead to me knowing about support that may be available. It was not until I launched my book ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’, at Parliament House by the Secretary to the Minister for Health, that both the Stroke Foundation and the Brain Tumour Alliance of Australia attended; that made me familiar with these two associations.
Later, I was invited to a meeting with a member of the Stroke Foundation and realised that I may be able to help promote the Foundation. I was already involved in a number of speaking engagements and was letting people know that the F.A.S.T. program (run by the foundation) was the reason that my husband, Peter, rang for an ambulance for me.
Both Peter and I were invited to be Ambassadors for the Stroke Foundation and were given a two day training workshop on what was expected of Ambassadors and what information it was important for us to share to increase the awareness of the public to this devastating medical problem.
They provided Power Point information for us to use if we wished, plus a portable flip chart. We were also given a great deal of flyers, fridge magnets, pens etc. that could be handed out. There were feedback forms and assessment flyers where those attending the talks could complete and take to their doctors to have a stroke risk assessment.
The Stroke Foundation were often requested to provide speakers and they, in turn, contacted Ambassadors who lived in reasonable proximity. But I was also approaching such groups as libraries, hospitals and Rotary clubs. Peter and I were doing a great deal to inform the public and make them aware of the risks and what could be done to reduce those risks.
I found the entire exercise very rewarding for me and am sure that it sped up my recovery as it certainly made me feel more confident and increased my self esteem.
Hints and Tips
If you suffer from such a thing as a stroke or brain tumour, make sure you ask early on for contacts to associations that assist and support those suffering. Hospitals should know who and where to go for assistance.