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Creative Award

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Proudly sponsored by Marmalade Melbourne

The Creative Award celebrates stroke survivors’ contribution to creative industries, including writing, photography, music and fine art. The award is open to stroke survivors in the community who are actively pursuing creative achievements.

2021 Creative Award finalists

  • Trish Higgins

    2021 Creative Award Winner

    In 2018, Trish had a stroke which created communication and mobility difficulties. In frustration after being told she wasn’t able to return to work, Trish picked up a paint brush for the very first time and just started to paint. Trish now paints what she…

    In 2018, Trish had a stroke which created communication and mobility difficulties. In frustration after being told she wasn’t able to return to work, Trish picked up a paint brush for the very first time and just started to paint. Trish now paints what she sees in her community every day with bright colours. Her painting has given her a new lease on life.

    How has stroke changed my life and where am I now on my stroke journey?

    Having a stroke turned my life upside down, but I decided to focus on what I could do. This led me to pick up a paint brush for the very first time.  Now look at what I’ve achieved.

    What advice would I give a survivor of stroke? 

    Don't think about what you can't do, think about what you can do. Make the most of every day, so get out there and have a go. 

     

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  • Alan Tremain

    2021 Creative Award Finalist

    Alan, a quilt designer and conversationist, had a stroke in 2013. It impacted his speech, mobility memory and mental health. Since redeveloping his physical and mental health, Alan created a safe space where others with similar interests could pursue their activities in a well-managed and…

    Alan, a quilt designer and conversationist, had a stroke in 2013. It impacted his speech, mobility memory and mental health. Since redeveloping his physical and mental health, Alan created a safe space where others with similar interests could pursue their activities in a well-managed and beneficial atmosphere through community teaching.

     

    How has stroke changed your life and where are you now on your stroke journey? 

    In order to achieve the same goals I had previous to having a stroke, I have had to ‘work’ much harder to overcome both physical and mental problems which have made me more determined than ever to regain some normality to my life. After ‘redeveloping’ speech, mobility and memory, there are still gaps here and there, I have since realised that this is the best things are going to be and to ‘stop whining and get on with life’. This has given me further insight into other people with the same or similar afflictions and be more caring towards them and put myself out more in order to assist them. I consider myself very lucky that I now can achieve my goals with modifications and assist others to achieve theirs. 

     

    What initiative/s have you introduced to help make life easier for stroke survivors? 

    I have continued my professional design and teaching work all during Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown to include all others who find their way to me and wish to progress their ideals under my tutorship. This has enabled them to resume and maintain some sort of normality in their expressive life. 

    In 2019, I undertook an Older Person Mental Health First Aid Course (OP MHFA) with NSW Government, Health Central Coast, and Local Health District. 

    I used this information as a Community Teacher and Community Advocate to help advise people where and who they should contact in Local Health Services should the need arise. I use this information every day I teach and this gives me great solace in my day to day life after stroke.

     

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  • Desney King

    2021 Creative Award Finalist

    Desney has now had ten strokes. Before the first, Desney had been quietly working on a rough draft of a novel for several years. It was almost complete. When the stroke struck, Desney thought the novel would remain as a file on her computer forever.…

    Desney has now had ten strokes. Before the first, Desney had been quietly working on a rough draft of a novel for several years. It was almost complete. When the stroke struck, Desney thought the novel would remain as a file on her computer forever. However, 12 years after she began writing it and 18 months of edits (which felt near impossible),Transit of Angels has just been published.

     

    How has stroke changed my life and where am I now on my stroke journey? 

    I was 60 when, on 23 February 2012, I had the first of many strokes. That stroke completely changed my life.  

    I was no longer able to work, to drive nor to socialise. And I could no longer write creatively, which meant the novel that was in its 13th draft lay dormant, and my blog posts stopped. I’d been working as a freelance book editor for years, and suddenly had no income, and very little savings. 

    I’m peaceful, serene, optimistic, and grateful that being surrounded by love and exceptional support has given me back my life. A completely different life, but a rich and fulfilling one, lived almost entirely from my bed.  

     

    What advice would I give a stroke survivor or someone who has recently suffered a stroke? 

    Be gentle with yourself.  

    It takes time – a long time – to work through the shock of having had a stroke. This can be a very distressing time for the stroke survivor as well as their family and friends. It can also take a long time to fully understand how your body, your capabilities and your life have changed. Allow yourself that time. 

    Change is a constant for everybody, whether we’ve had a stroke or not. But for stroke survivors, accepting the significant changes is a work in progress. Once we can arrive at a place of deep acceptance of our situation, we are liberated to work on whatever we’re still capable of, which might turn out to be a lot more, or very different from, anything we could have imagined, pre-stroke. Never give up. 

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  • Suzanne Ghent

    2021 Creative Award Finalist

    Suzanne had a stroke in 2014 and had to relearn almost everything. Her intrinsic self had changed - she was a different person. Fortunately the stroke didn't affect her creative ability. Three years after her stroke, she began to paint again and her first painting…

    Suzanne had a stroke in 2014 and had to relearn almost everything. Her intrinsic self had changed - she was a different person. Fortunately the stroke didn't affect her creative ability. Three years after her stroke, she began to paint again and her first painting was a self portrait of a female like creature in a chrysalis about to be born. It was an exciting time. Painting, writing, and photographing beautiful things gives her joy.

     

    How has stroke changed your life?  

    My stroke altered my life irrevocably. My right side, speech, vision, short and long term memory, executive function, pre-frontal cortex and emotion control were all effected. However the most significant of all is I lost the sense of who I am.  This is not governed by one’s physicality rather it's the inner sense of self.. This is what I lost. 

    Where are you now on your stroke journey?   

    Six years down the track, my long term memory has holes in it. I have much less capacity to manage. I have impaired bi-lateral peripheral vision. I haven't regained the sense of self and so am continuing to be confronted by the new me. Now I also suffer from three types of migraine. 

    Though I accept what happened to me, I am periodically still angry and frustrated. However, to speak or look at me you wouldn't know I've had a stroke.  

    I don’t see myself as a victim. 

    I am very productive with both my work and family. I am a full time artist, photographer, poet and jeweller. I resumed painting and began jewellery making after my stroke. (I painted until my late 20s then had a hiatus). 

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