Improving Life After Stroke Award

This award celebrates those who voluntarily dedicate their time to improving the care and support of stroke survivors in the community. This category is open to stroke survivors, carers, and volunteers who are making a big difference to the lives of survivors and raising awareness of their needs. 


Proudly sponsored by Remedy Healthcare


Dee Banks and Kylie Facer

Kylie Facer and Dee Banks (NSW and Vic) – recognised for founding Facebook page Little Stroke Warriors which brings together families of childhood stroke, after both their baby daughters had stroke in utero.

Kylie and Dee are two mums who in an ideal world, should never have met. Living more than 1,000 kilometres apart, Kylie in Muswellbrook and Dee in Ballarat they didn’t have any mutual friends or a great deal in common. The pair was brought together after both their newborn daughters had strokes. When Kylie and Dee should have been enjoying bonding with their precious little bubs, they were dealing with doctors, test results and life changing news. Individually they grappled with the gravity of what was happening until Kylie reached out on the Stroke Foundation’s Facebook page to see if anyone else was going through her situation and Dee replied. So began an instant bond. The mothers realised the value in each others friendship and understood they weren’t the only ones whose children had suffered stroke so decided to start their own group, Little Stroke Warriors. Started up in 2017 their Facebook page now has over 170 members. The aim, to make sure parents in the same boat have somewhere to go and access to easy to understand resources.



Priya Sharma

Priya Sharma was just 24 years old when she suffered a stroke in 2015. Shocked that stroke could happen to someone at such a young age Priya was determined to give something back. Priya created a donation event at her work where all proceeds were donated to the Stroke Foundation. She has also made a great effort to educate those around her about stroke and the risks, especially young people. Being a young stroke survivor she can relate to the younger generation and gives advice on how to move on from what can be a terrifying experience.

Vivienne Harkness

Vivienne’s husband, Peter, died from a stroke in October 2016 while the couple were on a cruise to New Guinea. It was not his first stroke, but she knew it would be his last. In 2011, determined not to see other stroke survivors suffer, Vivienne joined the Boroondara Stroke Support Group, of which she is now vice-president. Under her stewardship the group has gone from strength to strength and now has a hub offering activities such as arts and crafts, writing classes, iPad training, music therapy sessions and movies. Vivienne says her husband also inspired her to start a music program, Sing For Recovery, which has been running since 2016. She was this year’s Boroondara Citizen of the Year.


Tom Crow

Tom’s wife, Anne Crow, had a life-threatening stroke on an early morning in January 2011. Tom became the principal carer, with no prior medical experience. When he couldn’t find simple and easy to understand information on how to manage life after stroke, Tom went about writing his own handbook. It had to be well illustrated with all technical terms defined to bring people up to speed from zero knowledge. It had to be written in an easy to read format so as to motivate readers to take the necessary actions in a timely fashion. Whilst it had to be able to be read in an hour, it also had to be a reference document to be used specifically at various stages of stroke recovery (e.g. preparing the house for homecoming, role of a patient advocate, roles and responsibilities, when to approach Centrelink to support preparing a vision and treatment plan, monitoring progress, establishing a support network, purchasing equipment). The final product was a superb manual for potential carers faced with the same dilemma that Tom had faced with great courage and resolution: a loved one with a just-diagnosed stroke.