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Volunteer of the Year Award

NAB education and community business

Proudly sponsored by NAB Community

The Volunteer of the Year Award has been created to recognise those outstanding volunteers whose dedicated service has made a significant difference and contribution to our mission to prevent, treat and beat stroke.

Volunteer of the Year Award Winner & Finalists

Jan Lalor - Winner

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

I first started at the Stroke Foundation when my daughter Erin, then CEO, mentioned that the receptionist was having a hard time keeping up with all her duties. In those days all the outgoing mail was her responsibility along with all her other tasks. The mail was folded, stuffed into envelopes and franked by hand. As well there was all the big mail outs to hospitals and individuals. I suggested that I come in one day a week and give her a hand with the mail outs freeing her up for other work.

In those days the "packing room" was a compactor cupboard at one end of the office. A surprisingly large amount of mail went through the, cupboard!

Then we moved to larger premises, still in Queen St where I now had about twice the storage space and could actually pack on a proper table. Unfortunately it was the tea room table so I had to stop at lunch time and clear a space for the now somewhat larger staff. I liked to work non-stop if possible so I was now forced to take a lunch-break as well.

The next move was to our present premises in Bourke St. This was paradise. There was a dedicated room for packing. All the letters were done automatically by a separate group and my job became much simpler. I am really only busy during Stroke Week.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer and what do you get personally out of volunteering?

I have always enjoyed volunteering. When my children were young l worked in the schools doing various things: reading aide, teaching swimming, even pottery. As they grew up I worked at Kew Cottages in a volunteer capacity, a job I really loved, until I was talked into going back to school to requalify as a teacher. I then worked at Churinga, a school for intellectually disabled teenagers for a short time.

My husband was posted to Toronto in Canada and because I was unable to work I volunteered at The Aphasia Centre working on communication strategies with wonderful groups of stroke victims - 4 very happy years.

Back to Oz in the early 90s and I contacted The Brain Foundation to see if I could do similar work there. I was put in touch with various clients with whom I worked until sadly, they passed away. I have one remaining from all those years ago, Mavis, who is my constant inspiration. Which brings me up to the last 14 years or so at The Stroke Foundation! I have a great admiration and affection for people to whom life has not been kind and have learnt a lot from them.

Avinash Swami

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

After my Mother suffered a stroke three years ago, I felt the flow-on impact of the disease profoundly. I recognised stroke was a big issue in the community and became a Stroke Foundation Stroke Safe Speaker.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

Too many families continue to be devastated by stroke. Fortunately, my Mum has made a full recovery but I know that is sadly not the case for all. I want to help people avoid stroke by encouraging them to understand their risk factors and make lifestyle choices. I have, over the past 3 years, visited community organisations, retirement villages and workplaces to spread Stroke Awareness in our communities and urged local groups to book a stroke safe talk.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

Being a Stroke Safe Volunteer gives me great satisfaction, knowing I am contributing to our community. The contribution we all make as Volunteers, changes people’s lives. In my own experience, two of the people attending my stroke safe talks have experienced stroke. Being aware of the F.A.S.T. message and receiving prompt medical treatment has enabled them to make a full recovery.

Bob Carnaby

Bob

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

I became a Stroke-Safe speaker after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat otherwise known as Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a condition that can lead to strokes. Determined not to become another statistic, I took steps to manage this condition and reassess my own diet and lifestyle. When I realised there was a FAST (Face. Arms. Speech. Time.) program in place and a shortage of volunteers to deliver the stroke-safe message, I decided to join up to help others learn about what they could do to avoid stroke.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

I decided to embark on a mission to help reduce the rate of stroke in my ‘backyard’, the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales (NSW). I researched local community groups and made contact with them. During 2019 I presented talks to 26 workplaces and community groups, totalling 778 individuals, sharing information about how to recognise and prevent stroke. I wanted to do all I could to help others avoid stroke by encouraging them to understand their risk factors and make healthy lifestyle choices.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

There were around 840 strokes in the Cowper and Page electoral regions of NSW last year. Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast are ‘hot-spots’ for stroke. It’s devastating that stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer.

The outlook does not need to be this grim, and I can help change that. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable and with the right treatment at the right time many people are able to make a full recovery.

I feel a strong sense during and after each of my presentations that I have delivered the FAST message well. People are taking notice and asking questions. People are approaching me after my talks and asking more questions or sharing their stories, reinforcing why the FAST message is important. I know that I’m doing some good. And that’s what I get out of it.

Jenny Ferrier

Jenny

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

The Stroke Foundation helped me in my recovery and I wanted to give back. Seven years have passed since my stroke and I have trained with the Stroke Foundation as a volunteer. I appreciate the emotional support given by the Stroke Foundation, as anyone who has experienced a stroke will know the huge emotional toll it takes on the patient and their loved ones.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

I have made myself available to anyone to chat through their experiences, and through the training from the Stroke Foundation, my confidence is growing with public speaking to groups.

I have volunteered time to be with the SiSu Health Check Machine and encouraged people to check out their risk factors.

Being a survivor who has embraced life after stroke, I find people warm towards me when I talk about the risk factors, especially high blood pressure. I have managed through hard work, to achieve some independence and get much pleasure out of life.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

I like to meet new people, as I am definitely a people person and encourage people to look after their health to help prevent stroke.

Mike Whittle

Mike

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

After two strokes in a week, I lost the ability to read and had a range of conditions including impaired short-term memory. Following months of rehabilitation, I regained the ability to read and the other conditions improved significantly. I continue to be indebted to the therapists and other practitioners who played an integral role in my recovery.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

Volunteering as a StrokeSafe Ambassador with the Stroke Foundation enables me to repay some of that debt by contributing to stroke awareness in the community and in workplaces.

I enjoy delivering the potentially life-saving message of how to recognise stroke and how to minimise risk. I also coordinate the Hobart Stroke Support Group which is made up of stroke survivors and their family and friends. The knowledge I acquired during my Stroke Foundation training has assisted me in this role.

I meet with people commencing rehabilitation after stroke to explain the benefits of involvement in the support group. We emphasize the value of learning from the recovery stories of other survivors. For example, we recently explored the subject of neuroplasticity and its practical relevance to recovery after stroke.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

My major motivation as a StrokeSafe Ambassador is my belief that by contributing to stroke awareness I have a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of others.

My stroke has resulted in a productive outcome.

https://www.glenorchygazette.com.au/making-a-difference-for-tasmanian-stroke-survivors/

https://www.facebook.com/strokefoundation/photos/mike-whittle-a-grinner-is-a-winner/10157327032361170/

Jan Lalor - Winner

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

I first started at the Stroke Foundation when my daughter Erin, then CEO, mentioned that the receptionist was having a hard time keeping up with all her duties. In those days all the outgoing mail was her responsibility along with all her other tasks. The mail was folded, stuffed into envelopes and franked by hand. As well there was all the big mail outs to hospitals and individuals. I suggested that I come in one day a week and give her a hand with the mail outs freeing her up for other work.

In those days the "packing room" was a compactor cupboard at one end of the office. A surprisingly large amount of mail went through the, cupboard!

Then we moved to larger premises, still in Queen St where I now had about twice the storage space and could actually pack on a proper table. Unfortunately it was the tea room table so I had to stop at lunch time and clear a space for the now somewhat larger staff. I liked to work non-stop if possible so I was now forced to take a lunch-break as well.

The next move was to our present premises in Bourke St. This was paradise. There was a dedicated room for packing. All the letters were done automatically by a separate group and my job became much simpler. I am really only busy during Stroke Week.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer and what do you get personally out of volunteering?

I have always enjoyed volunteering. When my children were young l worked in the schools doing various things: reading aide, teaching swimming, even pottery. As they grew up I worked at Kew Cottages in a volunteer capacity, a job I really loved, until I was talked into going back to school to requalify as a teacher. I then worked at Churinga, a school for intellectually disabled teenagers for a short time.

My husband was posted to Toronto in Canada and because I was unable to work I volunteered at The Aphasia Centre working on communication strategies with wonderful groups of stroke victims - 4 very happy years.

Back to Oz in the early 90s and I contacted The Brain Foundation to see if I could do similar work there. I was put in touch with various clients with whom I worked until sadly, they passed away. I have one remaining from all those years ago, Mavis, who is my constant inspiration. Which brings me up to the last 14 years or so at The Stroke Foundation! I have a great admiration and affection for people to whom life has not been kind and have learnt a lot from them.

Avinash Swami

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

After my Mother suffered a stroke three years ago, I felt the flow-on impact of the disease profoundly. I recognised stroke was a big issue in the community and became a Stroke Foundation Stroke Safe Speaker.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

Too many families continue to be devastated by stroke. Fortunately, my Mum has made a full recovery but I know that is sadly not the case for all. I want to help people avoid stroke by encouraging them to understand their risk factors and make lifestyle choices. I have, over the past 3 years, visited community organisations, retirement villages and workplaces to spread Stroke Awareness in our communities and urged local groups to book a stroke safe talk.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

Being a Stroke Safe Volunteer gives me great satisfaction, knowing I am contributing to our community. The contribution we all make as Volunteers, changes people’s lives. In my own experience, two of the people attending my stroke safe talks have experienced stroke. Being aware of the F.A.S.T. message and receiving prompt medical treatment has enabled them to make a full recovery.

Bob Carnaby

Bob

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

I became a Stroke-Safe speaker after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat otherwise known as Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a condition that can lead to strokes. Determined not to become another statistic, I took steps to manage this condition and reassess my own diet and lifestyle. When I realised there was a FAST (Face. Arms. Speech. Time.) program in place and a shortage of volunteers to deliver the stroke-safe message, I decided to join up to help others learn about what they could do to avoid stroke.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

I decided to embark on a mission to help reduce the rate of stroke in my ‘backyard’, the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales (NSW). I researched local community groups and made contact with them. During 2019 I presented talks to 26 workplaces and community groups, totalling 778 individuals, sharing information about how to recognise and prevent stroke. I wanted to do all I could to help others avoid stroke by encouraging them to understand their risk factors and make healthy lifestyle choices.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

There were around 840 strokes in the Cowper and Page electoral regions of NSW last year. Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast are ‘hot-spots’ for stroke. It’s devastating that stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer.

The outlook does not need to be this grim, and I can help change that. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable and with the right treatment at the right time many people are able to make a full recovery.

I feel a strong sense during and after each of my presentations that I have delivered the FAST message well. People are taking notice and asking questions. People are approaching me after my talks and asking more questions or sharing their stories, reinforcing why the FAST message is important. I know that I’m doing some good. And that’s what I get out of it.

Jenny Ferrier

Jenny

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

The Stroke Foundation helped me in my recovery and I wanted to give back. Seven years have passed since my stroke and I have trained with the Stroke Foundation as a volunteer. I appreciate the emotional support given by the Stroke Foundation, as anyone who has experienced a stroke will know the huge emotional toll it takes on the patient and their loved ones.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

I have made myself available to anyone to chat through their experiences, and through the training from the Stroke Foundation, my confidence is growing with public speaking to groups.

I have volunteered time to be with the SiSu Health Check Machine and encouraged people to check out their risk factors.

Being a survivor who has embraced life after stroke, I find people warm towards me when I talk about the risk factors, especially high blood pressure. I have managed through hard work, to achieve some independence and get much pleasure out of life.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

I like to meet new people, as I am definitely a people person and encourage people to look after their health to help prevent stroke.

Mike Whittle

Mike

What prompted you to become a volunteer at the Stroke Foundation?

After two strokes in a week, I lost the ability to read and had a range of conditions including impaired short-term memory. Following months of rehabilitation, I regained the ability to read and the other conditions improved significantly. I continue to be indebted to the therapists and other practitioners who played an integral role in my recovery.

What contribution have you made as a volunteer?

Volunteering as a StrokeSafe Ambassador with the Stroke Foundation enables me to repay some of that debt by contributing to stroke awareness in the community and in workplaces.

I enjoy delivering the potentially life-saving message of how to recognise stroke and how to minimise risk. I also coordinate the Hobart Stroke Support Group which is made up of stroke survivors and their family and friends. The knowledge I acquired during my Stroke Foundation training has assisted me in this role.

I meet with people commencing rehabilitation after stroke to explain the benefits of involvement in the support group. We emphasize the value of learning from the recovery stories of other survivors. For example, we recently explored the subject of neuroplasticity and its practical relevance to recovery after stroke.

What do you get personally out of volunteering?

My major motivation as a StrokeSafe Ambassador is my belief that by contributing to stroke awareness I have a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of others.

My stroke has resulted in a productive outcome.

https://www.glenorchygazette.com.au/making-a-difference-for-tasmanian-stroke-survivors/

https://www.facebook.com/strokefoundation/photos/mike-whittle-a-grinner-is-a-winner/10157327032361170/