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Medikidz publish the world's first comic book to help children understand stroke

Press Release   •   May 09, 2014 09:00 BST

Every year, there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK; equivalent to one stroke every five minutes. Survivors are affected in different ways, but many experience both physical and psychological damage. Explaining the after-effects of a stroke to a child can be especially difficult during a time of high anxiety and stress amongst families. Medikidz, the medical education company specifically for children, has published Medikidz Explain Stroke, the world’s first resource of its kindto help children understand and cope with the realities of life during a hugely challenging time.

Written and reviewed by leading doctors, and supported by The Stroke Association and The British Association of Stroke Physicians, Medikidz Explain Stroke is a unique, child-friendly exploration of what happens to the brain and body when a stroke strikes, providing children with practical advice on how they can support a relative affected by stroke. The story is based on the real life experiences, concerns and questions of twelve year old Ethan King, whose grandfather, Ken Rudge, had a stroke, aged 55.

The impact of stroke varies depending on the individual, but common challenges include weakness or paralysis, speech and language problems, unsteadiness, extreme fatigue, impaired vision and emotional difficulties.

Tracy Douthwaite, Deputy Director and Services Manager – London, at the Stroke Association, said: “Stroke is devastating for families, and explaining its physical and emotional effects can be a huge challenge. For many children, it takes time to come to terms with the different and complex ways stroke can change people’s lives.  

We hope Medikidz Explain Stroke will help children and their families across the UK understand what happens following a stroke,  and will reassure children that there are simple things they can do to help their loved ones make their best possible recovery.” 

 Authored by paediatric communications specialists, the unique comic book stars Ethan, who witnesses his grandfather, Ken, suffering a stroke. In the book, Ethan meets the Medikidz superheroes - a group of 5 characters, each an expert on a specific area of the body. Sensing his confusion and anxiety, they whisk him away on their spaceship and travel to planet Mediland; shaped like the human body. There, they take Ethan on a journey through the brain and blood vessels.  He learns more about blood flow, oxygenation, and how tears or blockages in blood vessels can lead to a stroke, and affect movement, speech and memory. During the exploration, the superheroes help Ethan identify the signs of a stroke, explain treatment options and help him understand what his grandfather has experienced. Reassured, he returns home eager to help his grandfather.

Ken’s wife, Sue (Ethan’s grandmother), explains: We are delighted to help other families by starring in the Medikidz story. Ethan has been really helpful with Ken: he would often encourage him through his learning-to-walk stage, getting him to go that little bit further each time, which was hugely motivating. Now he’s hoping our story will help other children understand why strokes happen, and how good diet and exercise prevent them” Ethan says: “I didn’t know what to say to my granddad after he’d had the stroke, I felt really sad that things weren’t the same anymore.  But Medikidz helped me understand what granddad was going through, why he was different and what I could do to help him. Granddad and I are famous now!”

Co-Founder of Medikidz, Dr Kate Hersov, explains: “Medikidz was founded out of a frustration with the lack of child-friendly health information available.  We work closely with healthcare professionals, families, children and patients to fully understand the needs of young people. Thanks to Ethan, The Stroke Association and The British Association of Stroke Physicians, we will be able to help children better understand the situation in a time of anxiety and confusion.”

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For all media enquiries, including interview opportunities with the spokespeople from Medikidz and case studies included above, please contact: Ruth Delacour at ROAD Communications Tel: 020 8995 5832 email: Ruth@ROADCommunications.co.uk

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.  
Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and we’re leading a community of people to change the world for people affected by stroke.  We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at ww.stroke.org.uk