. Kevin English – 2019 National Stroke Volunteer of the Year

Stroke Foundation Volunteer of the Year awarded to Kevin English

U3A Port Phillip member Kevin English this week won the national Volunteer of the Year award from the Australian Stroke Foundation. Kevin joined U3A Port Phillip in 2012 and served as a committee member and treasurer for 2 ½ of these years. The award recognises Kevin’s contributions towards reducing the impact of stroke on the community.

Kevin was presented with this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award at a ceremony at the Melbourne Town Hall on 7 May 2019. Kevin suffered a debilitating haemorrhagic stroke (specifically a burst brain aneurism) 9 years ago which lead to a 6-month hospital stay and a slow but effective progressive recovery since then.

Kevin began volunteering for the Stroke Foundation six years ago and his involvement has spanned many different roles in that time. These include educating the community through StrokeSafe presentations, representing people with stroke on the Stroke Foundation Consumer Council, sharing his experience in educational videos and in media and advocating with government and the health system to improve stroke treatment and care. Kevin also represents stroke sufferers’ interests on the Stroke Clinical Network of Safer Care Victoria, the body charged with improving stroke treatment throughout Victoria.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan congratulated Kevin on being named this year’s winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Kevin has contributed countless hours to Stroke Foundation. He has influenced the charity’s core aims, to prevent stroke, save lives and enhance recovery, on many levels” Ms McGowan said.

“Kevin is an inspiration. His experience, dedication and insights are invaluable.”

Stroke Foundation’s 2019 Stroke Awards recognise Australia’s unsung heroes of stroke. Almost 70 people were nominated for an award this year across six categories: Improving Life after Stroke, Creative, Courage, Fundraiser of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and President’s Achievement.

For more information about the 2019 Stroke Awards visit https://strokefoundation.org.au/Media-Releases/2019/05/07/05/18/2019-Stroke-Award-Winners-Announced

Some facts about stroke

A stroke happens when blood supply via arteries to the brain is interrupted. Blood flow may be interrupted or stop because the artery is blocked (ischaemic stroke) or bursts (haemorrhagic stroke). When brain cells do not get enough oxygen or nutrients, they die. The area of brain damage is called a cerebral infarct.

  • Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and is a leading cause of disability.
  • Stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer.
  • In 2017 there were more than 56,000 new and recurrent strokes – that is one stroke every nine minutes. One in six Australians will suffer a stroke during their lifetime.
  • More than 80% of strokes can be prevented through appropriate medication (e.g. to control high blood pressure) and/or other lifestyle changes.
  • In 2017 there will be more than 475,000 people living with the effects of stroke. This is predicted to increase to one million by 2050.
  • Around 30% of stroke survivors are of working age (under the age of 65).
  • 65% of stroke survivors suffer a disability which impedes their ability to carry out daily living activities unassisted.

The FAST test is an easy way to recognise and remember the major signs of stroke. Using the FAST test involves asking these simple questions:
Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms – Can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.

Educate your friends, children and grandchildren to recognise these signs. It could save a life.  If anyone would like to request a presentation on stroke, please contact Kevin English via the U3A office or the Stroke Foundation https://strokefoundation.org.au/What-we-do/Prevention-programs/StrokeSafe-Speakers.