National Stroke Week success

September 14, 2020
By Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan

Dear Editor,

The year 2020 has put health at the forefront for obvious reasons. The impact of COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work and play, but also the way we value our health and that of our loved ones. 

With this in mind, I was incredibly encouraged by the response and support we received across the country to National Stroke Week (August 31 – September 6).

National Stroke Week is the Stroke Foundation’s key stroke awareness campaign, and stroke remains a major health challenge in this country. 

While face to face events during National Stroke Week were incredibly limited and held only in those States with no COVID19 cases, social media became a force for raising awareness and educating the community about F.A.S.T. -  the most common signs of stroke (Face.Arms.Speech.Time).

I want to thank the thousands of Australians who shared the F.A.S.T. message through their social media channels, in their community or via the media. 

As a result of your efforts, I am confident more Australians than ever now know how to recognise a stroke and understand they must call triple zero (000) at the first sign. Thanks to you, we now have more “F.A.S.T. Heroes” at the ready and this will save lives and prevent lifelong disability due to stroke.  

Using the F.A.S.T test involves asking yourself these simple questions: 
• Face Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? 
• Arms Can they lift both arms? 
• Speech Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you? 
• Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call triple zero (000) straight away 

Stroke strikes the brain, the human control centre. Stroke is always a medical emergency, but the faster it is treated, the better the chance of survival and a good outcome. 

Of course, not all strokes display the F.A.S.T. signs, but more than 80 percent do.  This is why I urge the community to commit the F.A.S.T. message to memory and continue to share it with friends, family and colleagues all year round. 

Stroke does not stop for a pandemic.  If you suspect a stroke, do not delay calling triple zero (000). Always remember, time saved equals brain saved. You could be our next FAST hero.