Artistic flair nets Douglas national award nomination

April 20, 2023

A Brisbane man who found art after a lifechanging stroke has been nominated for a 2023 Stroke Award.  

Clayfield’s Douglas Hemming worked as a teacher for 50 years, right up until the day before his stroke in May 2021.  

He was previously fluent in English and French and played the piano since he was a child. But the stroke took all of that from him.  

“I can’t play the piano anymore, it’s impossible because I’ve lost all power in my right hand, but my son Mitchell suggested I pick up a paintbrush again,” Douglas said.  

The 81-year-old began creating artwork as a form of occupational therapy.  

“I have been painting on and off since I was 30. My stroke inspired me to find that passion again. I started with watercolours and moved up to oils. Now I create a painting a month. It’s good to be able to put my talents to use.” 

The Stroke Awards celebrate the unsung heroes in our community who go above and beyond to improve the lives of Australians affected by stroke. This includes the survivors of stroke, carers, volunteers, fundraisers, health professionals, researchers, and members of the community. 

The Creative Award category recognises stroke survivors’ contribution to creative industries. 

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Lisa Murphy congratulated Douglas for his achievements.  

“Douglas has achieved so much since his stroke. Not only has he found a creative outlet that brings him joy, his positive outlook is an inspiration to others,” Dr Murphy said. 

“His amazing efforts go a long way to support the more than 475,000 survivors of stroke living in our community. I’m certain they will inspire other Australians to look at what they can do to prevent, treat, and beat stroke.”  

There are seven categories in total: Stroke Warrior, Improving Life after Stroke, Creative, Courage, Fundraiser of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and President’s Achievement.      

The finalists are:  

  • Douglas Hemming – QLD 
  • Emma Green – QLD   
  • Gretel Burgess – ACT  

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on May 4, 2023.

The 2023 Stroke Awards are supported by Major Sponsor, Bristol Myers Squibb - Pfizer, and Award Sponsors AbbVie, Allevi8, Australian Physiotherapy AssociationIpsen, NAB Community, and Precision Fundraising, agency of Precision Group