Young stroke survivor recognised for giving back

April 17, 2023

A Melbourne man who volunteers to assist with his own recovery after stroke has been named a finalist in the 2023 Stroke Awards.  

Kris Vanston has been recognised in the Volunteer of the Year category after giving up his time for the Stroke Foundation for the past 12 months.  

Before his stroke, the talented 38-year-old owned his own creative agency and worked with national clients all over Australia. For the past year, Kris has been able to put his skills to good use by filming, producing and editing content for the Stroke Foundation.  

“Coming into the office a few times a week has actually helped with my own recovery. I enjoy every day I go to work,” Kris said.  

“Volunteering has helped me get back into paid work which was a goal of mine. I have been able to build relationships and learn new skills which will assist in growing my own business. 

“I’m also able to bring my dog Beau with me, he’s my biggest supporter and a much-loved addition to the Melbourne office.” 

Stroke Foundation Acting Chief Executive Officer John De Rango thanked Kris for all of the work he has done for the organisation.  

“Kris and Beau are vital members of the team. To have someone with his skill level, lived experience of stroke and commitment to our shared work is invaluable,” Mr De Rango said. 

“He demonstrates drive, resilience and a genuine passion to come in and work with our team. Without tireless volunteers like Kris, Stroke Foundation simply wouldn’t be what it is today.  

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 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