Katie Sippe and Rebecca Clarke interview

What does it mean to you to be named winners in the Fundraising Award? 

It's certainly a surprise to find out we had won but also quite humbling. We set out to raise as much money as we could for the Stroke Foundation in order to fund more research and awareness, but also to make those people around us and in our community more aware of strokes and the devastating effect it can have on families. Living in a small country community we received so much overwhelming help and support which certainly helped lift our family’s spirit. We thought any amount would be a great contribution but were certainly surprised with the total we managed to get.

Why is supporting the Stroke Foundation/raising awareness about stroke important to you? 

As a family we have seen first-hand the devastation stroke can cause to not only the individual but to those around them too. Our lifestyles have changed a huge amount since mum became ill, and it's something you never think will happen to you. By raising awareness we hope that other people can realise what sort of impact this (stroke) can have on people and perhaps get a better understanding of how you can help those in need. If there was a way to stop things that happened to us, happen to other families then that would be great.

What motivated your fundraising to support the stroke community? 

Doing the HBF Run and raising money seemed like the least we could do for our mum and all that she has been through. Our main motivation was for more awareness - making people more aware of stroke, who it affects and how many people it affects. We were unaware ourselves of the statistics that are on the Stroke Foundation website until it affected us, but it's something that is becoming more and more common among Australian families. If more people knew about this and how it can be dealt with, or offered support to people in need, then that would be a step in the right direction. Support for victims and their families was also a motivating factor for us. 

What do you hope your fundraising will achieve?

We would love to see more research done, especially for people who suffer strokes due to the condition our mum had, cerebral amyloid angiopathy. It is something we had never heard of until our mum was diagnosed with this condition. Unfortunately there is no cure and no treatment for this condition. With more funding we would hope more research can be done to try and find a reason and a solution for this condition. Funding for family support would also be great - it's a tough scary time for everyone involved especially as no one has an answer. Moral support as well as follow up support would be a nice touch for victims and their families to know they are still being cared for.

What is one thing you would like people to know about stroke?

We would like people to realise this can happen to anyone at any time, no matter your age, gender or background. More awareness means more people will know how to cope in the situation our family and many others find themselves in. It's been a very tough ride for us and there is no real answer or outlook for what the future holds which is the toughest part of it all - the Unknown. Being there for each other and watching out, and for family and friends to lend support is the most important thing to do.