Stephen McAloon talks about his experience of volunteering with us.
I am a 59 year old retired building contactor. I live with my partner Nuala and have four children who have now all left home and are doing their own thing.
How and why I got involved with the Stroke Association
I got involved with the Stroke Association two years ago after I had a stroke myself in November 2008. I was paralysed down my left hand side and spent two months in hospital. I worked hard with the physiotherapists to get my movement back and still do my own fitness programme. I had to give up work and found it very hard to sit around not doing something as previously I was a very active person. I found out about the Stroke Association so decided to volunteer. I wanted to share my stroke experience with other stroke survivors, many who were not as lucky as me. I wanted to give them some encouragement and give something back.
What I enjoy about volunteering
I started up a Stage Three group called the Fermanagh Stroke Support Group. I get great satisfaction in helping people with strokes. I feel I have made a difference to their lives in some way.
How I make a difference
I make a difference by explaining my experience of stroke and my recovery process. I know it is not possible for everyone, and everyone's experience is different, but with encouragement even small changes can help.
How and why I would encourage other people to get involved
I would encourage people to get involved as it is a great experience and very rewarding.