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Young women’s stroke support group wins top award

Press Release   •   May 13, 2016 15:15 BST

Young Women after Stroke Group receive the fundraiser of the year award from Tony Bicknell, Royal Mail

The Young Women After Stroke group, which meets in Brownlow Community Hub Craigavon, is the only group of its kind in the UK and was set up to help women aged 16 – 55 to regain their confidence and independence following a stroke. The group includes members from Armagh Banbridge, Craigavon, Lurgan, Newry and Dungannon.

The group, which includes stroke survivors from across Northern Ireland, received the Fundraiser of the Year Award at the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards. The gala event took place at the Hilton Templepatrick as part of Make May Purple - the annual campaign to raise awareness of stroke. The award ceremony was hosted by BBC presenter and Stroke Association patron Noel Thompson.

The Life After Stroke Awards celebrates the achievements of stroke survivors, carers, health professionals and volunteers throughout Northern Ireland.

The Young Women After Stroke Group formed just one year ago but has already made a big impact raising awareness of stroke and fundraising through a series of very successful events. They’ve abseiled off the Obel Tower - the tallest building in Ireland, held a sold out ‘Strut for Stroke’ fashion show and launched a popular ‘Strip for Stroke’ calendar raising thousands of pounds along the way. Judges were also impressed by the group’s efforts to raise awareness of stroke which affects three times as many women as breast cancer and causes 12% of female deaths in the UK.

Tom Richardson, Northern Ireland Director, Stroke Association said:

“This group has been described as a sparkling pink whirlwind and that definitely sums up the incredible energy, positivity and dedication of this amazing group of young women. Like many stroke survivors, many of these ladies have experienced problems with their speech, mobility and overall health following stroke but by working together they have achieved incredible things and raised thousands of pounds to support fellow stroke survivors. Their commitment and passion for fundraising and raising awareness of stroke is second to none and they are very worthy winners of the Fundraiser of the Year award”.

Valerie Dale, Stroke Recovery Co-ordinator, who set up the group added:

“I’m so proud of all the young women in our group. I’m so blessed to be part of their journey. We’ve had an exciting time so far and I know we’re just going to go from strength to strength and make many more exciting memories. These amazing women are so passionate about raising awareness of stroke as well as vital funds to sustain stroke support services. They really deserve this award”.

More than 100 nominations were received for the Life After Stroke Awards. 8 awards were presented at the event and included awards for carers, stroke health professionals and courageous stroke survivors. The Fundraiser of the Year Award was presented by Tony Bicknell of Royal Mail.

Lynda Wright, from Armagh, who accepted the award on the behalf of the group said:

“We are all absolutely delighted to have won the Fundraiser of the Year Award. When I had my stroke in 2013 it had a massive impact on my life. I wasn’t going out much. I found mixing with people was a difficult thing, because of my speech problems. Being part of the Young Women’s Group has been wonderful and has helped to boost my confidence. Everyone at the group understands what it’s like to live with stroke. Going to the group and getting involved in the fundraising events has been amazing. Its gives you the feeling that you can conquer anything and that’s so important because recovering from stroke can be a long and difficult journey. We’re so grateful to everyone who has supported our fundraisers and would like to thank everyone in the local community for their continued support. We’d also like to say a special thank you to Valerie – our group co-ordinator – who has done so much to support us both individually and as a group”.

Find out more about these amazing women in this short film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9Ni_9e2gms

The Stroke Association is a charity that is changing the world for people affected by stroke.They work with thousands of stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals, with scientists and researchers, and with supporters to conquer stroke. For more information visit www.stroke.org.uk

Find us on Facebook.com/strokeassociationni or Twitter @strokeassocni

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