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Shelagh Brennan interview

What does it mean to you to be named a finalist in the Stroke Awards?

I am extremely overwhelmed and very, very excited. To be nominated is one thing, but to be a finalist is just superb. It's made me immensely happy and once again an acknowledgement of why I published my book.

Why is raising awareness about stroke important to you?

I love the fact that I can promote my book, A Stroke of Poetry and at the same time raise awareness. At my recent Sunshine Coast Author talks, many of the attendees were as keen to know about stroke, signs of stroke, as much as they were about my book. I love to educate people about the signs of stroke (F.A.S.T.) and still remain surprised with how many do not know or have ever heard of them. If it saves one life through me educating others then it has been worth the effort.

How do you think your contribution has made a difference?

The publication of my book has raised further awareness about how to live life after stroke. It is possible to live a contented, happy life if we seek help from others and focus on the positives. Knowing that my book has been purchased and used by counsellors, speech therapists and health workers, in addition to stroke survivors, carers and those suffering from depression, makes my heart sing, as that is where I wanted it to go...to help others just like me. Life does not have to halt because of stroke. It can be just as enriching, if not more than the life you had pre-stroke.

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

There are so many things I want people to know about stroke, but the most important is that it can happen to ANYONE of any age and knowing the signs of stroke is vitally important.

Who is your favourite creative person?

That is a hard one but you know, it is actually Karen Bayly, herself a stroke survivor, who taught me to get well again and regularly sends craft ideas to those struggling through their stroke recovery. Her ideas are truly amazing and she researches so many websites for the benefit of others, not just herself.