Emma Gee interview

What does it mean to you to be named the winner of the Creative Award?

To be the winner is extremely humbling and makes what I’ve endured worthwhile. The process of writing Reinventing Emma was both extremely gruelling and therapeutic. But in relaying both the good and difficult experiences I’ve had, I do hope it helps other people. In being recognised, I feel that I am supported in my endeavor to make a difference. 
Why is raising awareness about stroke important to you?
Raising stroke awareness is important to me as I feel not only can it aid stroke prevention, but it can hopefully assist in furthering understanding about the aftermath of stroke on the survivor and carers. It also ensures the numerous impacts of stroke are more known and leads to future research and the development of new resources, treatments and interventions. 
How do you think your book can make a difference?

By sharing my experience with stroke and the impact it has on the survivor but also all those in their care, I hope it will be a great resource for all affected by stroke - educating the stroke community, thus preventing isolation and empowering many. I believe others impacted by stroke will feel inspired to manage their own recoveries better. Some have indicated that as a result of me sharing my experience they have a new understanding of the impacts of stroke, and have changed the way they treat stroke survivors or how they deal with their own stroke recovery. 
What is one thing you would like people to know about stroke?

It’s difficult to list just one thing. There’s so much I feel that needs to be highlighted in improving stroke awareness and stroke care including -
• That stroke does not discriminate. That it can happen to anyone, at any stage of their lives. 
• The impact of stroke on the entire community, not just the survivor.
• The importance of individualising our approach. How stroke impacts everyone so differently and their recovery will vary depending on so many factors (i.e. level of support, age, motivation etc)
• The need to balance a person’s emotional and physical well-being to sustain the longevity of the condition and improve stroke care. I strongly believe the ‘invisible effects’ of stroke need more attention in order for us to be holistic in our management.
• The importance of including those involved so that they all feel valued and empowered to actively self-manage their lives and participate and contribute to society again.

Who is your favourite creative person?

My grandfather, Charles Robinson, was the most creative person I have ever known. Pa was no artist, but he creatively painted amazing pictures for us with his words. Faithfully he wrote to all of his six children every Sunday night. With this letter came a separate nonsense letter or poem to the grandchildren, creating scenes for us based on his farm we loved so much and visited so often. We children developed a love of words and a vivid imagination through the influence of my Pa. Even though my stroke meant I was unable to hand write, it could never take away my imagination or my creativity. The book, Reinventing Emma, is dedicated to him for handing those precious gifts down to me and I will be forever grateful to him.