69 year old Margaret O’Neill from Coalisland received the Adult Courage Award (65 years and over) and her daughter 43 year old Roisin O’Neill, also from Coalisland, received the Carer’s Award the recent Northern Ireland Life After Stroke Awards which took place in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast as part of Action on Stroke month.
Health Minister Edwin Poots, Government and Health representatives honoured the achievements of stroke survivors, their carers and supporters at the event. Local celebrities also attended including event host and Northern Ireland Stroke Association patron, BBC’s Noel Thompson, Belfast Citybeat Radio presenter Sara Neill and acclaimed artist Paul Bell.
Tom Richardson, Northern Ireland Director, Stroke Association comments;
“This is the first time we’ve had two members from the same family win awards but they are both such deserving and admirable ladies. Life completely changed for Margaret 25 years ago when she had a stroke. Wife and Mother to eight children, her life was always busy and eventful. The stroke left Margaret virtually paralysed and despite intense physiotherapy, her muscles gradually deteriorated and sadly she has been confined to her bed for the last eleven years, relying on her daughter Roisin to do everything for her. Accepting her situation from the outset, Margaret continues to maintain her jovial, relaxed and positive attitude. Her room is always full of visitors from her family to friends. She is a remarkable woman who’s strength and fortitude is an inspiration to us all.
“When Roisin’s father passed away, Roisin brought her mum to live with her and adapted her home accordingly. Despite being a full-time carer, wife, mother and sister, Roisin displays warmth and kindness to everyone. Roisin is always there for Margaret and ensured she has the best quality of life possible. She is an inspirational lady who is truly deserving of her award.”
The winners this year ranged from 28 year old Kate Gorman who volunteers for the Stroke Association, to the amazing efforts of stroke survivor Raymond Kelly and his friends who raised thousands of pounds through the fantastic 575 Challenge, cycling 500 miles and climbing 7 mountain peaks in just 5 days!
A total of eight Awards were handed out at the event in what proved to be an inspiring and emotional evening for both winners and guests alike.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said; “The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards demonstrates the excellent work across Northern Ireland to help support stroke sufferers and their families. They recognise the accomplishments of people who have been affected by, or who have had a stroke, overcoming personal challenges. The awards also give well deserved recognition to individuals and groups across the community who do so much to help stroke sufferers maximise their rehabilitation and recovery.”
Tom Richardson adds; “Around 34,000 people across Northern Ireland are currently living with the effects of stroke and each one is an inspiration to us all. May is Action on Stroke Month which focuses this year on raising awareness of mini-strokes or TIAs throughout Northern Ireland. The Life After Stroke Awards is such a significant event for us as it not only highlights how stroke can affect anyone at any age, but also the impact stroke can have on families and carers.”
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