From his own experience, Mike saw the need for direct practical and emotional support for stroke survivors once they had returned home from hospital. Mike recognised the transition can be a frightening and disorientating, so he worked tirelessly to establish, maintain and lead the Hobart Stroke Support Group.
How has stroke changed your life and where are you now on your stroke journey?
After two strokes and a heart attack, I commenced a rehabilitation journey focused on learning. Learning to read again, learning to remember again and learning to manage my emotions. An integral part of my stroke journey has been to appreciate my reliance on others, particularly fellow stroke survivors. We share our recovery journeys, we learn from each other and we support each other.
How have you helped educate people and survivors on stroke?
The most important contribution I can make is to share my experience of stroke. So, I volunteer as a StrokeSafe Ambassador with the amazing Tasmanian Stroke Foundation team. I deliver the life-saving message of how to recognise stroke and how to minimise risk.
I’m also part of a team that coordinates the Hobart Stroke Support Group. Members of the support group share their stroke journeys and learn from each other’s recovery experience. Most importantly, we understand and support each other.
We also collaborate with the Tasmanian community rehabilitation unit and the Tasmanian Stroke Foundation team to meet with people commencing rehabilitation after stroke. We explain the benefits of involvement in the support group and emphasize the value of learning from the recovery stories of fellow survivors.
What advice would you give a survivor of stroke?
I would encourage a stroke survivor to explore the Stroke Foundation’s website EnableMe. The section called My Stroke Journey is particularly useful for someone who has recently experienced stroke.
I would also encourage a stroke survivor to join a support group, where they can interact with fellow survivors and learn from the recovery experience of others who are on a similar journey.