Matt’s mission to deliver lifesaving message

March 23, 2023

A Glenorchy stroke survivor will pound the pavement this week, armed with a lifesaving delivery. 

Matt Picone will join a group of Stroke Foundation volunteers in delivering 1000 magnets to local households and businesses depicting the F.A.S.T message – that being the three common signs of stroke (Face, Arms, Speech) signs and the reminder to not waste Time, dial triple zero (000) immediately. 

The father-of-two knows just how important receiving urgent medical care is after he experienced a huge stroke in June 2019. Matt had been feeling unwell for 12 days straight in June 2019. He had seen several medical professionals who told him his headache was likely the result of a migraine. 

“I was lying on the couch, and I went to get up but my lefthand side was a deadweight. I managed to hold onto my phone and ring my wife, Ellen. She was home within 10 minutes and called an ambulance immediately,” he said. 

“I didn’t want to bother her because she was pregnant with our second child, but I also knew the seriousness of what was potentially happening.”  

At Royal Hobart Hospital, doctors confirmed Matt had experienced a huge stroke. He received lifesaving clot busting medication and was eventually airlifted to Royal Melbourne Hospital for further treatment.

“Four years later and I still experience fatigue. I’m still surprised by what will knock me over, it’s not just physical things, it’s in my mind as well,” he said. 

Matt is among the 11,000 stroke survivors living in Tasmania. He believes early intervention may have saved his life.  

“I know how important the F.A.S.T message is. The outcome after a stroke seems to hinge heavily on rapid response and treatment,” he said. 

“The sooner someone recognises what is going and seeks help, the better things turn out and the better their recovery will be in the long run.” 

The F.A.S.T. test involves asking these questions.   

  • FACE: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?  
  • ARMS – Can they lift both arms? 
  • SPEECH – Is their speech slurred? 
  • TIME is critical. If any of these signs appears, call 000 immediately. 

Call triple zero at the first sign of stroke. This vital action is the first step in helping someone get the time-critical medical help they need. It gives them the best chance of a good outcome.  To find out more information about the Stroke Foundation, visit the website.