An important part of the stroke-awareness armoury

If you listen to the latest episode of The Warrior podcast (I recommend that you do - it’s only just over 20 minutes long and its at thewarriorpodcast.libsyn.com and on iTunes), you’ll hear Pete Morgan and I talking to Sarah Adderley, who is Head of Stroke Support in the Central Zone for the Stroke Association.

It’s a fascinating conversation, even if I say so myself. Sarah explains exactly what the Association does and what it would like to do in the future, reveals some frightening statistics about stroke, talks about how high blood pressure is a major cause of stroke and mentions the My Stroke Guide series of films.

This series of over 200 videos can be found in a specific section of the Stroke Association website at stroke.org.uk. They cover almost every conceivable aspect of life after stroke, from memory and concentration issues to perception problems to difficulties with writing, speaking, decision-making, swallowing food and even with getting travel insurance.

My Stroke Guide is important to me because I played a very small role in its’ creation. As I have previously mentioned here, I have good links with the Stroke Association through my involvement on their research funding panels and my willingness to act as ‘a talking head’ whenever the media want a stroke survivor to tell their story. In fact, I’m sure those links played a part in the Association offering to provide Sarah as an interviewee for The Warrior podcast.

Those links were formed almost as soon as I was able to do anything constructive with my life post-stroke and when the Association had the initial idea for MSG, I volunteered to appear in some of the films. Soon afterwards, a filming team from the Association spent two days at Warrillow Towers filming me (and my dog, Rascal, a long-haired chihuahua who was determined to get in front of the camera!).

At the time, MSG was still an idea in its infancy as the Association looked for 21st-century new-media ways of helping survivors and the range of films was quite limited. It has grown massively since then and the films are now available to survivors, their carers, medical professionals or indeed anyone who wants to know more about life after stroke.

I feature heavily in the film about perception but I also have bit-parts in a few others. Although, never mind me; MSG is a vital tool in helping people understand stroke which is, after all, what i’m all about. I would definitely recommend settling down with a cuppa and watching a few of the films.