A new project which highlights the importance of the awareness of stroke is being rolled out across West Wales.
The Stroke Association’s Act FAST- Be Stroke Aware project is now active across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. The programme aims to recruit, train and support volunteers to provide stroke awareness and prevention messages to work places and groups in the community.
The project’s first volunteer is Andrew Davies, 46, a press photographer for the South Wales Evening Post. He had a stroke in July 2013 after completing a half marathon.
Andrew had gone to bed following a celebratory BBQ and woke up around 1am feeling severely unwell. He fell over trying to get out of bed and was nearly delirious but managed to drag himself to the bathroom.
Andrew explained; “My wife, Deborah, and I didn’t think I could be having a stroke. I had paralysis down my left side and lost my speech but I didn’t have a facial droop. Eventually I let Deborah call an ambulance after refusing to see a doctor for several hours.”
Due to his age Andrew’s stroke wasn’t initially recognised and he didn’t receive a scan until he’d been in hospital for two days. He was sent home after ten days and told he would probably never walk again. Andrew’s determination has seen him fight to receive as much physiotherapy as possible and he has returned to work as a photographer part time.
“One thing I will always be grateful for is how my family and friends rallied around me in support. I don’t want to imagine what it would have been like to go through alone. By volunteering with the Stroke Association I’m hoping to share my experience and prevent others from experiencing stroke.”
Peter Llewellyn, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said; “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition further strengthening links between Hywel Dda University Health Board and the Stroke Association across the region. This is also significant as this service has received pump priming monies from our Support for Life Scheme stemming from the work of the Health Board’s Fundraising Officers supported by our Charitable Funds Committee.”
Natalie Fletcher, the new Stroke Awareness Volunteer Coordinator, explained; “This is a free service for the general public which will offer free blood pressure checks to clubs, organisations and workplaces. We will also provide up-to-date and interactive presentations around stroke information and prevention measures.
“We’re looking for committed and passionate people to help us raise awareness in their local communities. Through support from people like Andrew together we can conquer stroke.”
For more information about the project or to become a volunteer contact Natalie Fletcher on 07720364122 or Natalie.firstname.lastname@example.org
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 together we can conquer 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 www.stroke.org.uk