The Stroke Association is calling for people across Kent to be more aware of the early warning signs of stroke, and to share the FAST message to help save more lives.
The FAST Test identifies the three most common symptoms of a stroke and the right action to take:
FACE: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
TIME to call 999
Ronald Carmen, 75, from Gillingham survived a stroke in 2016 and is now spreading the word about recognising FAST Test symptoms.
Ronald’s wife Naomi, said: “We were at home one day and I just happened to notice that when Ronald was walking up the stairs, his leg wasn’t moving properly. I asked him what was wrong, but he brushed it off and said he was fine.
“I then saw Ronald winding our clock up with his left hand, which was strange. I started to study him, and when he then asked me to button his shirt because he was struggling, I knew he was having a stroke.
“Doctors said that by acting so fast I potentially saved Ronald’s life. The FAST adverts have always stuck with me, and when you know someone so well you can instantly pick up on different behaviour.
“I think it’s so important for everyone to know FAST. Thankfully I was with my husband and realised very early on. If I hadn’t been there, things could have been a lot different for him. I’m sure that the FAST test saved my husband’s life, and I will forever make sure more people know about it and understand just how important it is.”
Tara Galloway, Area Manager for the Stroke Association in the South East, said: “Having a stroke is devastating. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time.Every second counts when you are having a stroke, so recognising the signs and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial. A stroke is a medical emergency – as serious as a heart attack, so you need to seek immediate medical help. The quicker a person arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment to minimise the impact of their stroke.
“We want more people in the South East to learn the FAST test and share it with their friends and family to help others to save lives, and improve the chance of a better recovery for those who experience stroke.”
To find out more about the FAST campaign, and to view information and support available, visit www.stroke.org.uk/FAST.