Unlike other illnesses, stroke allows no time for the stroke survivor or family members to prepare for the total devastation of the life-changing situation they will now face. Stroke has a way of affecting lives forever.
I have been left with physical and mental disabilities, which mean that I am unable to return to work or even drive, My independence has been totally stripped away. These disabilities will always cause limitations and prior to volunteering, I no longer felt I had much to offer others. Initially, I hid my sadness at no longer being the person I was and not doing the things I used to enjoy, but I replaced them with positive things that I can do. This is where being a Stroke Ambassador has diluted those emotions and illustrated the total opposite. I am able to be of value and benefit to others through my own experience.
I was fortunate to have been asked by Daisy, a fabulous person within our charity who does so much for stroke survivors, if I would be interested in becoming an Ambassador. She said that my experiences would definitely be beneficial in the role. Thank you, Daisy.
As a Stroke Ambassador, I deliver talks to help raise awareness of stroke to various groups and events to kind, wonderful people who are raising money to donate to our charity. These groups range from businesses, Lions and Rotary Clubs, participants at Stroke Fun Runs and even golf societies.
I really enjoy giving talks as I am very passionate about raising greater awareness of stroke. It’s important to me that people know the signs of stroke and act accordingly, but that they also know about the ways certain strokes can be prevented. If my talks can help prevent just one family having to go through what I went through, then all my efforts are worthwhile.
I feel blessed that out of something so life-changing and debilitating. I am able to meet some fabulous people that I would not have otherwise met, and that I am able to help fellow stroke survivors and their families along with others who hopefully won’t experience what I have endured.
Families ask me so many questions, because there are sadly so many left unanswered, and we are all so alone once the formal rehabilitation stops. They feel confident in my replies because I answer from bitter experience.
So to me, volunteering means the opportunity, in a small way, to add value to people's lives and enhance the well-being of others.