World Stroke Day is happening on Friday 29th October, and everyone can help raise awareness for stroke by organizing a
Big Blue Brunch for their colleagues, friends and family and help raise much needed funds for Stroke Central New
Zealand’s ongoing free stroke support services.
Every hour, someone has a stroke.
Every 5 hours, someone dies from stroke.
Every year 10,000 people experience a stroke.
There are over 50,000 people in New Zealand living with stroke aftermath, and about one third of them require assistance
in everyday living.
Stroke Central NZ CEO Lee Pownall explains that “everyday our staff actively support stroke survivors and their families
in our communities and every day there are new and different challenges that our staff face, as the aftermath of stroke
differs from person to person, and everyone needs to be supported in different ways”. All of Stroke Central New
Zealand’s support services are free of charge and their work also includes providing stroke awareness and prevention
education to all communities. Lee Pownall stresses that “although there are always challenges, we face, being able to
provide free support to stroke survivors and their families is also very rewarding when you hear of clients like Padma
Jilludimudi who overcome their challenges post-stroke and achieve amazing things”.
Padma had a stroke in 2004 and was admitted to hospital. After being in a coma for 3 days she woke up with the right
side of her body paralyzed as well as having lost her speech.
After a long time of rehabilitation and speech therapy things started to improve slightly, but not having much to do
meant that Padma was getting depressed. One day her daughter said to her: “Mum if you want to do something, you go ahead
and do it and I will support you.” Padma told her that she liked drawing, but she was afraid that she could no longer do
it as her dominant hand was paralyzed, but her daughter kept on encouraging her, reminding her of her previous successes
in life and told her to be brave and try it. After much encouragement from her daughter, Padma enrolled herself in an
evening Art Class at Tawa College. With the help of her tutor there she regained her confidence in her ability to sketch
and draw and she learned to use her non-dominant hand. Finally, she had found purpose in life again. She now feels very
proud of her progress with her artwork, and her newfound love of art has given her back happiness in life. She also
wants to encourage other stroke survivors or people with disabilities to not fear things. She says, “if we have an idea
of what we want to do in our mind and our heart, we can do it”. And that’s what she lives by, happily trying new things
when she feels like it.
If you wish to support Stroke Central New Zealand and their free support services this World Stroke Day, all the info
for the Big Blue Brunch can be found on their website.