Creative Coasters to be honoured at national stroke awards

April 13, 2023

Two gifted Gold Coasters who have used their creative streak to aid in their recovery from stroke have been named finalists in the 2023 Stroke Awards.  

Letisha Kalnins is being recognised in the Improving Life After Stroke category. The Highland Park mum experienced a stroke in 2012. She’s now the author of Finding Yourself After Stroke, a compilation featuring the lived experiences of 26 young stroke survivors.  

Letisha shares the experiences of those from the book and her own online across social media to inspire, create hope and provide support to others navigating stroke. She said writing the book helped her own recovery and gave her a purpose.  

“I am really surprised and honoured to be recognised in the Stroke Awards. It’s good to know that something I did to help myself has also helped so many other people,” she said.  

“The book is now being translated into Korean, it’s had such a huge reach and it’s really relatable.” 

Emma Green from Clear Island Waters has also been named a finalist, recognised in the Creative category which honours a stroke survivors’ contribution to creative industries including writing, photography, music and fine art.  

Emma, now 39, experienced a lifechanging stroke at just five-years-old. It impacted her physically, cognitively, and left her with ongoing language difficulties. Emma’s Mum Cherie said art has allowed her family to discover a new side they had never seen before. 

“She always enjoyed art in school, but it wasn’t until we started working with a local art teacher that we discovered Emma’s creative abilities,” Cherie said.  

“Art is like therapy to Emma, she’s still discovering new techniques. She’s a very quiet achiever. Her art has given her the opportunity to feel successful and valued in the community. She now has a long list of people wanting her to create pieces for them.” 

Stroke Foundation Acting Chief Executive Officer John De Rango congratulated both Letisha and Emma.  

“Both of these inspirational women are the reason we have the Stroke Awards each year. Their talents are incredible, and they are a prime example that there is a life after stroke,” Mr De Rango said.  

“Their amazing efforts go a long way to supporting 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 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