When stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down. And so does a part of you. That’s because a stroke happens in the brain, the control centre for who we are and what we can do. It happens every five minutes in the UK and changes lives instantly. Recovery is tough, but with the right specialist support and a ton of courage and determination, the brain can adapt.
This month I’m highlighting the essential work that the Stroke Association does in raising awareness of Stroke and supporting people to rebuild their lives after they’ve had a stroke.
The Stroke Association provides specialist support, funds critical research and campaigns to make sure people affected by stroke get the very best care and support to rebuild their lives.
Their specialist support, research and campaigning are only possible with the courage and determination of the stroke community and the generosity of their amazing supporters.
Rebuilding lives after stroke is a team effort. It takes the determination of stroke survivors and carers, the generosity of supporters and the dedication of the healthcare and research communities to get there.
To help in the recovery of stroke survivors the Stroke Association provides information, support and advice. Their key areas of work include:
Support services help hundreds of thousands of people through one of the most frightening experiences of their lives and build a life after stroke. This includes emotional support, communication support and exercise-based rehabilitation.
Information based on accurate and up-to-date evidence. We ask stroke survivors and their families, as well as medical experts, to help us when putting our information together.
Research helps to improve treatments, care and rehabilitation, saving thousands of lives and helping stroke survivors make the best recovery they can.
Fundraising – through their busy events schedule, including Make May Purple, Resolution Run and Step Out for Stroke, fundraisers work nationally and with local communities to raise much-needed funds to support stroke survivors.
Campaigning – through initiatives such as the FAST campaign, developed with the Department of Health, the Stroke Association has been hugely successful in making more people aware of the signs of a stroke and the importance of taking emergency action.
Volunteering – fantastic volunteers play a vital role in the recovery of stroke survivors across the UK. We provide training and resources so that our volunteers are well equipped to help stroke survivors with their recovery and rehabilitation.
One small step for humans, one great Step Out for Stroke – can you make the leap?
Fifty years since the first person walked on the moon, stroke survivors are now proving that they too can overcome their own challenges by taking part in a charity walk for the Stroke Association at Stanley Park in Blackpool on Saturday 22 June.
Step Out for Stroke is a series of mile-long walks taking place across the UK this summer. The courses are suitable for any level of walking ability, wheelchair accessible and participants can walk at their own pace, in their own time.
To mark this 50th anniversary, the Stroke Association is hoping each walk will have at least 50 participants raising at least £50 to fund its work supporting stroke survivors and their loved ones, as they rebuild their lives after stroke. Just as people once thought walking on the moon was impossible, many people still don’t think that you can recover from stroke.
Half a century on, as we celebrate one of the modern world’s biggest achievements, the charity is inviting people across Blackpool to celebrate stroke recovery by signing up for Step Out for Stroke at Stanley Park.
The impact of having a stroke varies depending on which part of your brain is affected; it could be anything from wiping out your speech, leaving you with a physical disability or affecting your emotions and personality.
For many stroke survivors, rebuilding their lives can seem like a huge challenge, much like reaching the moon. Recovery is tough, but with the right specialist support and a ton of courage and determination, the brain can adapt.
Just as those first steps on the moon were celebrated 50 years ago, every Step Out for Stroke walk celebrates the many ways in which stroke survivors are rebuilding their lives. Recovery from stroke is a team effort. Please sign up and be part of the team.
To sign up, or to find out more, visit www.stroke.org.uk/stepout.
Signs of stroke
- Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
- Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
- Time: If you see any of these three signs, it’s time to call 999.
There is no way of knowing if symptoms will pass or get better when they first start, so you need to seek immediate medical help. A stroke is a medical emergency. Always dial 999. The quicker the person arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment.
The FAST test helps to spot the three most common symptoms of stroke. But there are other signs that you should always take seriously. These include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
- Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
- Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
- Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
- A sudden, severe headache.
If you spot any of these signs of a stroke, don’t wait. Call 999 straight away.
Ambulance paramedics are trained in stroke, and will take the person to the best hospital for specialist treatment.
The Fylde and Wyre Stroke survivors golf group is a Stroke Association voluntary group offering social support and golf activity sessions to its members. The group encourages and promotes accessible physical activity, which supports stroke survivors’ physical and mental wellbeing. The sessions are open to all abilities, whether you are an experienced golfer or want to try something new.
Laura Coleman (Volunteering & Community Officer)
Thank you for reading about the work of the Stroke Association. If you can help in any way, they and I would be hugely grateful.