Clare Stariha interview

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

It gives me pride in knowing the work I put in to raising awareness and funds has not gone unnoticed. If we can stop one person from having a stroke, it is worth it!!

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

Having a stroke can happen to seemingly healthy people, young or old, it does not discriminate! Quite often there will be no warning that you are going to have one. My father-in-law had a massive stroke while he was in hospital, surrounded by the best doctors and nurses and yet it still happened. Helping raise funds towards research into stroke recovery will have a huge impact on the life of a stroke survivor.

What motivated your fundraising to support the stroke community?

Alex Stariha, my father-in-law, had a stroke 10 years ago. He was a very healthy 68 year old, livestock auctioneer. He had the gift of the gab, but I can honestly say I never heard him say a bad word about anyone. Ironic that now he has no voice. He went into hospital for a heart valve replacement after having rheumatic fever as a child. Three days after the surgery he had a massive stroke, effecting his right side and his speech. Thankfully he is still with us, but unfortunately he has never recovered his speech and has very limited mobility. He is the most positive, inspiring man and I will do anything to raise awareness of how severe and unexpected a stroke can be.

What do you hope your fundraising will achieve?

When I set myself the goal of running 100kms in a month to raise funds and awareness for the Stroke Foundation, my husband said to me, "100kms!, that's going to be a struggle." I replied “your dad has struggled every day for the last 10 years - I'm sure I can handle one month.” I hoped from talking to people about my fundraising efforts and the goals I set myself, that people would become more aware of the seriousness of a stroke and that not everyone fully recovers from it. 

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

A stroke can hit seemingly healthy people who have no idea they are at risk. It is vital that we all "know our numbers" and get our blood pressure checked. While I was raising funds at my work, I checked customers’ blood pressure and explained the risks of stroke to them. When my mum came to support my fundraising and had her blood pressure checked, my jaw dropped…it was scarily high and she had no idea!