Stroke survivor strives to influence change

August 16, 2022

A Geilston Bay man is using his stroke story to influence Tasmanian decision makers.

Fit and healthy father-of-two Nic Stephen was just 37 when he experienced a stroke, he’s now calling for ongoing support to prevent stroke in his community.

“It was just like any normal day, I’d been working from home, and I settled down in the evening to chat with my wife with a glass of wine,” Nic said.

“I started to feel strange and couldn’t work out what was wrong, so I took myself off to bed. It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning that I realised I couldn’t walk or see out of my left eye.”

After undergoing a series of scans, it was revealed Nic experienced a stroke. He’s one of 11,000 Tasmanian stroke survivors living in the community. 

Nic has made an amazing recovery, but he wants to ensure more Tasmanians survive after stroke, which is why he’s addressing politicians alongside Stroke Foundation representatives this week.

“I didn’t realise strokes can happen to young people, I consider myself one of the lucky ones as it hasn’t had a lasting impact on me – but that’s not the case for everyone,” he said.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said she’s thankful for the ongoing partnership with the Tasmanian Government, but more work can be done.

“Our research tells us that an estimated 665 Tasmanians will suffer a stroke each year and more than 10 per cent will not survive,” Ms McGowan said.

“That is truly a tragedy, as 80 per cent of strokes are preventable and, with quick access to emergency treatment, many survivors, just like Nic can make a full recovery.” 

Ms McGowan said alarmingly, 28 per cent of Tasmanians cannot name a single sign of stroke.

“While that is better than the national average of 40 per cent, there’s still room to improve,” she said.

“We can change this by sharing the F.A.S.T message and educating Tasmanians about Facial droop, the inability to lift both Arms, slurred Speech and Time.”