Courageous Territorian recognised with national award nomination

April 11, 2023

A Darwin man whose life has been upended by stroke has been named a finalist in the 2023 Stroke Awards.

Richard Crookes has been nominated for a Courage Award which recognises the indomitable courage and hope shown by survivors and carers in stroke recovery.

The 59-year-old experienced a stroke while in hospital, just a day after he was due to be discharged following back surgery. His routine procedure in May 2021 turned into a five-month stay in hospital and ended his career as a fishing charter operator.

“My life will never be the same after my stroke, but I’m lucky to be alive. If I didn’t have a stroke in hospital I probably wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

“That’s why I’ve made it my mission to shine a light on stroke in the Territory and make everyone aware of the signs of stroke and the things they can be doing to avoid one. Even two years later, Richard’s recovery journey continues. He makes the arduous trip to Adelaide every eight weeks for intense rehabilitation as he cannot get the treatment he needs in the Northern Territory.

Stroke Foundation Acting Chief Executive Officer John De Rango congratulated Richard for his efforts.

“Richard’s work on the ground in the Territory is making a difference and saving lives, he is an absolute inspiration and the reason these awards exist,” Mr De Rango said.

“Richard is demonstrating incredible courage, he’s made it his mission to make more people know about stroke and the efforts they can take to reduce their stroke risk. We’re so grateful to have his support.”

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 and researchers and members of the community.

The finalists are:
• Richard Crookes – Northern Territory
• Nicole Gallacher – Victoria
• Mikaela Reilly – South Australia

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