Help Others to Help Yourself – Be an Ambassador

Help OthersI have spent my whole life helping others. As a secondary teacher of Art, I took great delight in helping young folk to find their own creativity and to develop their skills, thus building their confidence and allowing them to achieve success. So, it was pretty easy for me to still be able to help others even though I was coping with facing my own demons after suffering both a stroke and a brain tumour.

I did not call on help from associations (such as the national Stroke Foundation or Brain Tumour Alliance Australia) even though I probably should have. I did take advantage of the home help that was offered and was assessed (with my husband) as being eligible for the Carers Respite. I was more concerned with being able to help others by sharing my story through both my book and speaking to groups (such as Libraries, Rotary Clubs and Hospital staff).

My aim was to inspire and motivate others who may be suffering or the carers of someone suffering. I also wanted to simply make folk (whether they be medical staff or potential patients) more aware of what to do to reduce the risk factors of getting strokes and to better understand what the patient goes through and how they handle it.

Therefore, when I was invited to be an Ambassador for the Stroke Foundation, I was only too happy to do so. It seemed to me that what they wanted me to do was not all that different to what I was already doing.

My husband, Peter, also nominated me for a creative award (run by the Stroke Foundation) for those recovering from a stroke through the wonder of creativity. With me having written the book ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’ and with my silk painting, Peter felt that the award was made for me! He was pretty right as I ended up winning this award.

I just want folk to know that there is life after a stroke. You can still be productive and useful; you just have to concentrate on what you can still do and not fret about what you can no longer do. Of course, there are many degrees of disabilities after a stroke and this can be a deciding factor in what you will be able to achieve. But, believe me, you will still be able to achieve!

 Hints and Tips

You must remain positive after suffering a major illness and believe that you can do more than you think you can. Set yourself huge challenges; me writing a book when I could no longer read, was my huge challenge. It will take time and you will need a pretty special caregiver to support you; but stick to it and you will be amazed. The more good things that you achieve, the easier it will become and it will seem as though more and more positive outcomes will be heading your way.

 

55 thoughts on “Help Others to Help Yourself – Be an Ambassador

    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      Most caregivers are family members and it is my experience that they are wonderful beyond expectations. However, if you are on your own, why not ask an association, church or other support organisations and ask them if they have anyone that can help?

      Reply
  1. Sarah Keating

    Your stories are so inspirational. I am recovering from another round of breast cancer treatment and it helps me to hear about other people’s survival stories.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      I wish you well in coping with the breast cancer treatment. A good friend of mine fought that cancer and won. But what really amazed me was how she still took part in events and meetings that I held (for a business organisation I was president of) while undertaking treatment. She then decided on a new business for herself and her husband and it is now flying! So much so, that I do not get to see her as much as I would like. It is the positive approach to life that gets us through the hard times – and I am sure that is the same for you! Barb

      Reply
  2. Tony Paylor

    I admire you for your courage and positivity in life. It is amazing that you after suffering not only stroke but brain tumour as well, still show such positivity and a zest for life. People like you will make this world a much better place.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      How kind of you to say so Tony….I must admit, I find life so wonderful, I don’t want to ruin what time I have by being bitter or expressing angst. I find helping others certainly makes me feel goo…and I hope those I help too!

      Reply
  3. Gary R

    Being an Ambassador is a wonderful thing to do as you are giving your talents to other people in need. At the same time this behavior really enhances your own self-worth. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

    Reply
  4. David Winter

    If you have had a stroke yourself you can offer valuable information and insight for others who have had the same misfortune. This is a great thing to consider.

    Reply
  5. Josh

    Congratulations. There are few things more rewarding in life than realizing that you are doing something that others appreciate, and that make a difference in the lives of others.

    Reply
  6. Zach S

    Even as a male, yoga is really good at keeping me fit and very healthy. I can’t imagine what I would do if I never discovered this practice. Great stuff.

    Reply
  7. Trudy

    Its amazing how you have turned your misery into a source of positive energy for yourself & everyone else around you. You are an inspiration to everyone going through tough times in their lives. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts & stories through this website!

    Reply
  8. Osman Oghuz

    What a wonderful endeavour. I’m glad you found meaning even after suffering such tragedies. Never lose hope, and teach others not to lose hope either!

    Reply
  9. Isar Bahar

    Totally agree that help must not always come from within and we need a helping hand in the direst of circumstances. That’s not to say that we leave it all to them. Together, a fearsome-twosome can beat any odds!

    Reply
  10. Tessa Lapthorn

    It’s beautiful how you’ve turned your experience into a positive way to help others both get through their experience positively and productively. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  11. Sunjoo K

    Thanks Barb for the words of wisdom. Sometimes, we all need a helping hand and it starts with asking! Glad things are looking out well for you now 🙂

    Reply
  12. james

    You’re such an inspiration to not only stroke victims but those who have faced any serious health issue. You’ve shown that a positive outlook can overcome a great deal of adversity in one’s life. Your tip about setting goals after facing adversity is so true. Focusing on a single goal can pull you out your depression and truly give you meaning in your life.

    Reply
  13. Dustin

    I find helping others has an amazing ability to help to those in need but also myself. I think getting active and giving is key to helping overcome any serious medical issue. As you stated a positive attitude is key to accomplishing your goals. With a great attitude you can accomplish even what you once thought impossible.

    Reply
  14. Angel Nelson

    I think it is great for people to come together and help each other. Strokes are a serious thing and support from a network of people for stroke victims is very beneficial.

    Reply
  15. sam ross

    I am wondering how the governments help in this area and if they support people who have had strokes but i am not holding my breath.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      Govt assistance in Australia is for some help in the home. For how long depends on how bad the patient is.

      Reply
  16. Lanya

    What a wonderful inspiration you are Barbara and what an amazing example you set for others who have suffered a debilitating illness. Although we may not be able to do the same things we could do before there is always something we can achieve that makes us feel worthwhile. Thank you for this!

    Reply
  17. afroja

    It is very good habit,everybody should this,if you help someone oneday when you need help then someone will help you, i believe it.

    Reply
  18. Aidan

    really inspiring – I’m so thankful for people like you to take the time to help others through posts like this. very positive!

    Reply
  19. Joseph

    I have a background in psychology, and I can tell you, every study confirms it: positive outlook only benefits the body. If only from the fact that less stress means there is less cortisol coursing through your body, but of course, there is more. And the mental benefit is just spectacular.

    Reply
  20. Elie Gould

    There is absolutely life after a stroke. Positivity breeds psychological benefits. Or, phrase another way, negativity harms the body through hormones. Regardless, to help others, to get involved, can only benefit you as well.

    Reply
  21. elijah

    i have the greatest admiration for you! surviving such a life changing event, let alone becoming a representative of it, is incredible. thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  22. Julia Sutherland

    I have been a big advocate in my own community for things near and dear to my own heart, so

    I can relate to how it can be theuraputic to reach out to others who have similar

    afflictions. Great advice.”

    Reply
  23. Danica Reed

    I have been a little bit disappointed in life because each time I help someone they thought that I had another agenda or something. It really just broke me.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      Please don’t let bad experiences stop you from helping others, Danica. It seems to me that maybe you were trying to help people who really did not need or want help. Try helping an elderly neighbour by offering to mow the lawn or cook a meal; see if you can do something in a school program (like reading to children) to help them (though in Australia you have to have a police check before working with children); go to a local hospital and see what you can do to assist a patient….there are lots of scenarios where people really do need help and will be thankful for what you can offer. Barb

      Reply
  24. Judy Workman

    I am glad that you got to continue helping others. Sounds like that is something you love. We need more people like you. You are an inspiration to others.

    Reply
  25. Bill

    I’ve done a bit of volunteer work in the past and I can tell you that there is no better feeling. You feel great that you’re helping others, and dare I say, proud of yourself.

    Reply
  26. Jillaine H.

    There’s that saying that you must help yourself before others can help you. Truly agree with the sentiment here. People aren’t mind readers and it helps to let others know what it is that you can do together 🙂

    Reply
  27. Rui

    Volunteering is a great way to inspire others around you to give something back to the community/society. I hope your example inspires more people towards it, more so you for your displayed courage.

    Reply
  28. THUSHARI

    Your stories are so inspirational. surviving such a life changing event, let alone becoming a representative of it, is incredible. People like you will make this world a much better place. thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  29. John Mayor

    Generally people often wants something in return when ever they help someone. But not necessary that the return will come directly at the same time. This article says a lot about being a volunteer. Helping others will always help you today, or some other day.

    Reply
  30. Nephilim

    Wonderful article. I have been interested in developing my inter-personal skills for a couple of years. This article really shows a in-depth way of how to help me and the others and the relationships between us. Kudos for all the advice.

    Reply
  31. supremex

    Your desire to help others goes way back and that’s what you call a genuine good person. I live that your husband was so involved and that you didn’t let anything hold you down or back from helping others. Great job! Commendable!

    Reply
  32. Jenni

    This is an inspirational post because being creative and optimistic are great ways to empower yourself or one who is recovering from a stroke. It is important to be able to see and create beauty around you, like doing art.

    Reply
  33. Rich Pirrin

    What an amazing story of healing through helping others. I agree so much when you say, “you just have to concentrate on what you can still do and not fret about what you can no longer do”. I believe that positive attitude is what drove your success.

    Reply
    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      I am sure too, Rich. Positive attitude can help you. no matter what your situation in life is – you don’t have to be getting over an illness.

      Reply
  34. James Laker

    Great help, much appreciated. Time to get out there and help others while helping myself 🙂

    Reply
  35. Jenny M

    Yes, a lot of recovery is mental, not physical. So great to be able to overcome something then be able to share your experiences or help others in a positive way. 🙂

    Reply

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