Volunteer of the Year Award
Proudly sponsored by NAB
Brenda, a registered nurse and disability case worker from NSW, had a stroke caused by a tear in her internal carotid artery in 2001 when she was 41 years old. The stroke affected her speech, sight and right arm. Over the years she has become an integral member of the Stroke Foundation Consumer council, initially starting on the working party for the National Stroke Guidelines (2007 & 2010). Brenda assists the Stroke Foundation in numerous ways in advocacy, StrokeSafe, campaigns and many Foundation activities. Brenda also works or the Northern Beaches Stroke Support group and advocates tirelessly with MPs in her local area to support her community. She is the Co-President of WAGSS, a working age stroke support group on the Central Coast.
Alex had his stroke in March 2016 while at the beach with his family over Easter. Despite getting almost immediate medical treatment and thrombolysis, his outlook appeared grim. Alex had lost movement on the left side of his body and doctors were unsure if he’d ever walk again. Through persistence and determination, Alex is back working 3 days per week in a plumbing office role and in his spare time helps spread awareness for the Stroke Foundation alongside Dr John Carson. To hear their talks together is awe inspiring, informative and humorous. John brings the facts to the seminars and has endless patience with the ongoing medical questions whilst Alex brings the human aspect as a stroke survivor all with a sense of humour. Together as a team they do wonderful work to promote awareness for the Stroke Foundation.
Joe started volunteering in the GARU (Geriatric and Adult Rehabilitation Unit) in Queensland, in March 2011, after surviving two strokes. His volunteering role is primarily to contribute to fortnightly Stoke Education Sessions. The sessions are run in conjunction with medical, nursing and allied heath staff for people with stroke and their families. Occasionally, Joe also provides one on one visits to current stroke patents on the ward. He now requires wheelchair for mobility and has no functional use of his right arm, but this has not affected his optimistic outlook desire to help others. It also means that Joe can provide real-life examples to stroke education attendees of how he overcomes the obstacles of stroke impairments and how he has found new and meaningful life roles after stroke.
Jan has been volunteering at the national office of the Stroke Foundation for 15 years. Week after week she comes in to send out resources to both consumers and health professionals. She has been with the organisation through many changes, including three offices. It is impossible to evaluate the impact Jan's volunteer work has had both for the Stroke Foundation and the Australian public. Jan is the mother of former Stroke Foundation CEO, Erin Lalor, and even after Erin's departure from the Stroke Foundation at the end of 2015, Jan has continued to volunteer on a weekly basis.
Fay is an integral part of the success of the recreational programs run at the Ipswich Hospital for those recovering post stroke. Her tireless work behind the scenes is essential for engaging inpatients in meaningful activities. Fay as a volunteer will do anything at the drop of the hat to assist the staff on the rehabilitation ward and the acute stroke unit. Regardless of the task she is eager and enthusiastic to assist the stroke survivors and eager them in conversation and provide a listening ear. As a previous employee on the ward he now continues her meaningful work as a volunteer.