Helping survivors

Sir - I may be known more widely as someone who has campaigned to eradicate the abuse of children through the ‘Sarah’s Law’ campaign named after my daughter. However I am writing to you now as someone who has had a stroke – a stroke survivor.

Around 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK every year and millions live with the after effects. Amazingly, around a quarter of stroke survivors are under the age of 65 with some children even experiencing a stroke.

For some, it is very difficult to make a recovery, but for many others, like me, with the right help, support and care, we can go on to have a successful and happy life. We can continue to be an active parent, remain independent and enjoy the small things in life that keep us going, such as reading, talking to friends and going out for a meal.

Unfortunately, I know that of the hundreds or even thousands of you in the South West who have been affected by stroke, many of you will be finding life that little bit harder at the moment. The financial squeeze, the public service cuts, combined with recovering from a stroke, mean that it is sometimes difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, I wanted to let you know that The Stroke Association is running the largest ever consultation of people affected by stroke at the moment. Are you someone who has been affected by a stroke or do you care for someone who has had a stroke? Are you feeling the financial pinch at the moment? Have services you rely on been reduced or taken away completely? What do you really need to help you get back to a better life?

Over the last few years, I have been advocating, on behalf of parents and children, by trying to give them a voice. I have turned my attention to stroke survivors who, in many ways, are even less heard. We need to be saying what we need so that stroke issues get on the political and media agendas for a change!

Any readers who are interested in filling out the survey should call The Stroke Association’s Helpline on 0303 303 3100 or download a copy at: www.stroke.org.uk/dailylife

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Sara Payne

The Stroke Association

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