Spread a life saving message all year round

August 25, 2021
Dear Editor,  

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the incredible work our health professionals do every day to save lives and support survivors to recover well after stroke.  

We know their working environment has become more challenging amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but their dedication to the 27,400 people who will experience a stroke this year, never waivers.  

I was heartened to see survivors of stroke and their loved ones around Australia also share their gratitude during Stroke Week (August 2-8), embracing the “United By Stroke” theme.  

However, the reality is, we can have the best doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and the most advanced treatments for stroke, but time is still the critical factor. You must get to hospital quickly to access emergency stroke treatment. 

After a stroke, around 1.9 million brain cells die each minute. In most cases, the faster a stroke can be diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of a good recovery. Time saved equals brain saved.  

I encourage the community to keep spreading the F.A.S.T. acronym all year round. Knowing the F.A.S.T message and sharing it with your family and friends can be the first step in saving a life and avoiding ongoing disability. It may be your own life or that of someone you love.  

The F.A.S.T message will help you recognise the most common signs of stroke:  

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?  

Arms – Can they lift both arms?  

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?  

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call triple zero (000) straight away.  

A stroke can happen to anyone at any age and research tells us the number of working age people having strokes is increasing. These people are not just numbers, they are mums, dads, sons and daughters. They have jobs and families and plans for the future.  

Stroke is always a medical emergency. Please know what to do when stroke strikes. Think F.A.S.T. and act fast at the first sign of stroke.  


Sharon McGowan 

Chief Executive Officer 

Stroke Foundation