Charitable volunteer in the running for national award

April 12, 2023

One of Stroke Foundation’s most active volunteers has been nominated for a 2023 Stroke Award. 

Lillian Chen from Strathfield has been honoured in the Volunteer of the Year category, recognised for her tireless efforts as a StrokeSafe Speaker. 

Ms Chen, who experienced a stroke while at home in 2018 was motivated to put her skills and knowledge to good use, having worked as a pharmacist for three decades. She reached out to Stroke Foundation to become a volunteer in March 2022 and gave more than 10 talks that year.  

“I gave up working shortly after my stroke, so volunteering with the Stroke Foundation has given me a purpose in life and the opportunity to use skills from my previous career to help others,” Ms Chen said.  

“Being nominated for a Stroke Award was totally unexpected. It’s wonderful to be acknowledged for teaching others about stroke which is something I enjoy so much.” 

Lillian said her talks help debunk the myth that stroke is something that only happens to the elderly.  

“I love being able to connect with others by sharing my stroke journey and talking about how the F.A.S.T (Face, Arms, Speech and Time) acronym saved my life and how by knowing this, they could also save a life,” she said. 

“Being a StrokeSafe Speaker helps me in so many ways because it keeps my brain active by challenging my memory which isn’t the same as it was before I had my stroke. It’s allowed me to find my words again.” 

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.  

Stroke Foundation Acting Chief Executive Officer John De Rango congratulated Lillian for all her achievements over the past 12 months.  

“This organisation would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for the tireless efforts of our volunteers like Lillian who gladly give up their own time to make people aware of their stroke risks,” Mr De Rango said.  

“It’s fantastic that Lillian uses StrokeSafe talks as part of her own therapy from stroke. We’re really lucky to have her as part of the team.”  

The Volunteer of the Year category recognises those outstanding volunteers whose dedicated service has made a significant difference.   

The finalists are:  

  • Kris Vanston – Melbourne, VIC   
  • Tony Finneran – Padstow, NSW   
  • Lillian Chen – Strathfield, NSW    

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 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