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Life after stroke

SPRING/SUMMER 2011

Strictly smooth

Volunteer Sheena Metcalfe and the legendary Stan McManus cut some rug at Carlisle Stroke Club

Also in this issue: Know your blood pressure We follow the Stroke Association in their mission to help people stay on top of their blood pressure

Brrrilliant new study: Six lucky people from the club are offered a 10-week trial with Vibralife Fitness Clinic


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A word from the editor... I have been in contact with Carlisle Stroke Club for nearly two years now and have nothing but admiration for for everybody involved. My first encounter with the club was when I helped raise £500 in memory of Derek Lacey after he died of a stroke in June 2009. I was touched by how much of an impact the club had on people’s lives and the close bond the 36 members and volunteers share. This issue of Life After Stoke has been created for assessment as the final part of my degree in journalism, but it is hoped that the magazine will be a regular occurrence. Inside this magazine, a whole spectrum of the world of stroke is explored; from survivor stories and medical professionals to vibrating plates and Sinatra singers. Whether you’ve had a stroke, been affected by it or even have no connection to it, I hope that this magazine truly encapsulates the fantastic work that Christine and her team of volunteers do for people recovering from a stroke.

Sarah Langford  Carlisle Stroke Club is a registered charity and is based at Robert Ferguson School in Denton Holme, Carlisle. The club meets every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month between 7.30 and 9.30pm. For information of how to donate or to getinvolved, conact the Chairman on 01228 576738

Latest donations Ronnie Mulholland kindly donated £70 of his birthday money to the club thanks to the generosity of guests at his 80th birthday party. The band “3 for all”, which features Ronnie Walker, Morris Petry and Eddie Clifford, raised a combined £170 through sales of their CD and donations for performances. Longtown Stroke Club transferred their remaining funds of £859.50 to Carlisle Stroke Club following their closure in April. £100 was donated anonymously by a member of Carlisle Stroke Club. £230 was raised in memory of a nonmember, who the family wishes to remain anonymous. A cake sale at Kirkbampton School helped to raise £137.07 for Carlisle Stroke Club. All photographs credited to Gemma Doyle unless stated otherwise This publication was printed by Cumbrian Newspapers. All articles written by Sarah Langford. Edited by Sarah Langford for assessment in BA (Hons) Journalism at the University of Cumbria With thanks to Cumbria Mobility Ltd and the Crown and Mitre Hotel for their kind donations to Carlisle Stroke Club in return for advertising.

30 years and Chris still helping others

Long service: Christine joined the stroke club after a chance find in the News and Star

Carlisle Stroke Club chairman, Christine Mountain has been volunteering at the club for almost 30 years. Life After Stroke deatils how the club’s leading lady found her way into helping people on the path to recovery.. Christine joined Carlisle Stroke Club as a driver when she replied to an advertisement in the News and Star in December 1982. She held the post of programme secretary for a few years before becoming chairman a short time later. “Soon after I joined the club, I got more involved with different aspects. As they say, the rest is history” Christine said. Originally from Workington, Christine set up a similar club at her home town in Ayrshire, for disabled people after hearing how frustrated her friend’s mum was that she could not get out of the house following her stroke.

It was this that prompted Christine to get involved with the club in Carlisle. As well as being a proud Scot, Christine’s hobbies include flower arranging, gardening, rugby and she also has an active role in the Church of Scotland on Chapel Street. Carlisle Stroke Club plays a vital part in peoples’ recovery and Christine is proud that it has been running for almost 34 years. The club was set up by Dr Peter Chin and some other local professionals in June 1977. “It has been helped by the fact that we have a good group of volunteers.” “It’s great fun and worthwhile in helping people with their recovery so I am very happy in my role as chairman. Carlisle Stroke Club will be the last thing I ever give up. The members are a game bunch and are up for absolutely anything!” “A stroke is such a tremendous illness that not only affects a lot of your body, but has a huge impact on family and your day to day life.” “This club proves that there really is a life after stroke.”

University student to examine how members walk the walk Members of Carlisle Stroke Club were asked to roll up their trousers in the name of science as part of a study into perceptions of walking. Lauren Stenhouse, 23, is studying for her Masters’ degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Cumbria, and as part of this, Lauren is researching how people walk after they have had a stroke. The brave volunteers who completed the study were asked to walk down a ten metre runway during a meeting in March, while being filmed by Lauren and her assistant. Those taking part were also asked to complete a questionnaire detailing information about their stroke. In order to take part in the study, volunteers had to roll up their trousers and tuck in their shirts, so

that Lauren could have a clear view of how they were walking. Lauren (below) said: “I have had a good response so far. I just hope my research can help people who have had a stroke in the future”


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Carlisle Stroke Club ‘buzzing’ about new vibration studies Members of Carlisle Stroke Club have been invited to take part in an innovating study into the long term effects of vibration therapy on stroke sufferers. The research is headed by Lizzie Kenny, who is studying for a master’s degree in physiotherapy, which is being funded by the University of Cumbria. The Vibralife Fitness Clinic, which recently celebrated its first birthday, utilizes vibration technology to stimulate muscles without the need for strenuous exercise. The clinic has previously worked with people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, but only now has had the chance until now to attempt to help those who have had a stroke. Lizzie, in conjunction with the University of Cumbria, wants to investigate the possible benefits of Vibralife with stroke sufferers and use her research to help shape a programme of exercise to increase mobility.

“Hoping for good results” “We are aiming to get six volunteers to take part in a 10-week programme to see what effects or benefits our vibration therapy could have on those recovering from a stroke” said Lizzie. Ronnie Marshall was the first to give the machine a go. “It wasn’t unpleasant, just vibrating on my arm. It might help, you never know. The hospital can’t do anything with me now and I would try anything to get rid of the pain in my arm. I would like to take part in the programme, as long as they provide transport. ” Lana Brown, managing director at Vibralife, spoke of her ambitions: “We are hoping to help people enhance their condition and get the most of their body. We know that we can help people with this machine and we welcome people to come and have a look around the gym before they sign up.” Lizzie added: “We have had 5 people sign up so far which I'm really happy about. Everyone who has shown interest has been really enthusiastic and willing to give it a go. Fingers crossed we will see some good results in a few weeks time.” Vibralife Fitness Clinic is medically approved and based on Kingmoor Road. For more information, call Lizzie on 01228 580444.

Top: Brave volunteer, Ronnie Marshall was the first to give the vibration machine a go. Far right: The Vibralife team. L-R: Stewart, Lana and Lizzie Right: Joe Davidson contemplates

Dates for your diary: 7th June - Keep fit

21st June - Outing Rosley Womens Institute 5th July -

Dalston Ladies Chioir 19th July - Surprise outing 6th September - St Stephen’s Band 20th September - AGM


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In pictures: Life after stroke joins Liz Roberts &

Stroke Association blood pressure mission really takes the biscuit The Stroke Association has been touring the north of England offering blood pressure tests to those deemed to be at high risk of a stroke. The latest stop for the team was McVities biscuit factory in Carlisle. First in to have his blood pressure taken was Mike Thursby, 52, a process supervisor who has been working at the factory for 21 years. His blood pressure was perfect at 125/86. Mike said “I think it is a good idea to have the blood pressure checks because my dad had a stroke when he was 72, thankfully he recovered from it. It’s good piece of mind to know that my blood pressure is fine.” Kath Walker, part of the information, advice and support team for the Stroke Association, said: “it’s difficult to say how popular the checks are going to be. I would like to think that we are going to get as many in as possible. 50 would be great in a factory this size.” “It is extremely important to get your blood

pressure checked, not only does it raise awareness, but it can stop you from having a stroke. A lot of people think that if their blood pressure is fine, they are reluctant to get it checked again. You should aim to get blood pressure checks once or twice a year” The initiative works on the basis that of somebody is alerted to the fact that they have high blood pressure, they will be better equipped manage and maintain a healthier rate. “If somebody comes here today and they have high blood pressure, we will help that person to understand what it means and how they can help to reduce it. Liz Roberts, regional information officer for the North West, said “research has shown that shift workers are in one of the high risk groups for stroke. We aim to use this research to try and prevent as many cases as we can. Above all, doing this helps to raise awareness of stroke.” McVities invited the Stroke Association as part of their stroke awareness month in the factory.

McVities, based in Caldewgate, was the latest in a series of stops on a North West tour of England offering blood pressure checks to “high risk groups”

Cost effective: This cheap and simple test could help to prevent a stroke, as well as other serious problems such as heart disease and an irreglar pulse


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Life after stroke 5

Kath Walker offering checks to McVities staff

“You’re fine”: Kath Walker explains to one member of staff what his blood pressure reading demonstrates

First volunteer: Mike Thursby, deemed by research to be at high risk of stroke, gets his blood pressure checked by Liz Roberts from the Stroke Association

Wait your turn: Workers queue up to find out if they are as healthy as they feel


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Long-term volunteer reflects on his time as CSC organizer The majority of money donated to Carlisle Stroke Club funds transport to and from meetings for its members, and nobody knows the importance of allowing sufferers to get out of the house more than Hughie Bernard, former transport organiser. Hughie has been volunteering for nearly 30 years at the club after retiring from his job at the Prudential following a heart attack. He used to be a driver, taking patients from the hospital to the stroke club meetings when they were based at the City General, now the Cumberland Infirmary, before they moved to Robert Ferguson School based in Denton Holme. “The job I did involved meeting anybody who wanted to join the stroke club at their house; not only so I knew where to pick them up from, but it was for them to have at least one familiar face at their first meeting. I would always help them to break the ice with other members, this made it less daunting for them” said Hughie. It was when the club bought a new minibus a few years ago, when Hughie decided that it was time to make use of it and started running some summer afternoon trips. The decisions of where to go where drawn from suggestions of members - the biggest hit was always Silloth via Keswick, Borrowdale and Brough. The group would be out for no longer than four hours to stop members being uncomfortable. “The stroke club doesn’t do day trips anymore

5 The minibuses play a vital role in the success of Carlisle Stroke Club. Inset: The group get ready to head home after a great night at with their friends.

after my ill health, which is a shame because the members loved the trips” Hughie added. Hughie decided to get involved with Carlisle Stroke Club after his mother and mother-in-law both had stroke. “I would still do it now, but I just can’t. I have stopped volunteering fully for nearly two years now.” At its peak, Carlisle Stroke Club had 70 members, but unfortunately has lost a lot to death and those who have fully recovered. It was this volume of members that prompted Hughie to develop the “route” system that the club uses today. “It is so important to people to get out of the same four walls; going to the stroke club meeting is the only time to get out for many people.”

“As a volunteer, you see people go through the recovery process. A lot of people cry through the first stage, even the men, which makes them quite introverted. But after a while, you get to see them come out of their shell and gain more mobility in their affected limbs. I have seen such a transformation in so many people since I started working there.” The cost of petrol is the main drain on Carlisle Stroke Club’s resources. But without this service, many of the 36 members wouldn’t be able to attend. Hughie added: “The time I spent doing my bit in people’s recovery, who became my friends over the years, was a time that I cherished.” Hughie still helps at Carlisle Stroke Club when his health allows. And there is no uncertainty about whether Hughie is at the club, his bellowing voice can be heard all around the school when the raffle or bingo begins... “37! WHO’S GOT 37?!”

Big impact: Hughie’s input to Carlisle Stroke Club is valued by all of the members.

Charity starts at home say legendary crooners Local singing legends Ronnie Walker, Eddie Clifford and Morris Petry have nominated Carlisle Stroke Club as the charity to receive all proceeds from their CD sales and performances. Following annual stints for the club in the last five years, the group feels that the work of Carlisle Stroke Club is a worthy cause to support.

The trio is now in a band called “3 for all” which mainly covers Sintara era music and has been rehearsing and touring residential homes for around two years. Ronnie said: “I kind of roped Eddie into it, I knew he was a good singer and told him to come along with us. Morris used to be a full time performer, and I was singing part time through an agency so we decided to start performing together.”

Left to right: Eddie Clifford, Stan McManus and Ronnie Walker

Around this time, Ronnie’s brotherin-law had a stroke and has been going to Carlisle Stroke Club ever since which strengthened their ties to the club. “The members like to sing along with the songs, we think that it’s therapeutic for them. It plays a big part in people’s recovery” Eddie added. It was when the group started to get offered money for their performances that they decided Carlisle Stroke Club should benefit. “We work for free, we’re not doing this to make money” Ronnie was keen to add. “We have so much fun performing at Carlisle Stroke Club and look forward to it all year.” The group performed for members in March this year along with another well known Carlisle performer, Stan McManus and they were a massive hit. Speaking of Stan, Ronnie added: “He has been performing at Carlisle Stroke Club a lot longer than we have and it’s because of him that we started performing there.

Stan compered “3 for all’s” performance, providing a bounty of laughs in his Dad’s Army style attire, before wooing volunteer Sheena Metcalfe on the dancefloor. Stroke club member, Derek Glover said the performance was “one of the best nights on the programme”. With their powerful voices, the showmen had every member tapping their feet and singing along to songs of their era. Chairman, Christine Mountain, was delighted by the response to “3 for all”: “The club is always happy when Ronnie and Eric come, they are so professional and are fantastic singers.”


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Dr Davies: Simplicity is key in keeping patients in the know Stroke can be a confusing and devastating illness which, until recently, has had a low profile in the media. Dr Paul Davies is a stroke consultant at the Cumberland Infirmary. Here he shares his knowledge of causes, treatments and ways to help prevent a stroke. stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. Symptoms such as facial weakness, arm weakness and speech disturbance may come on very suddenly. Around 80 per cent of strokes are caused by blood clots, and if we can confirm a clot is the cause of the stroke with a brain scan, we can perform Thrombolysis, more loosely known as the “clot buster” to help aid recovery. For those who receive this treatment, 1 in 3 has some benefit, but we have to be very careful about who can get this treatment because a small number of patients with stroke can have a serious bleed on the brain from the Thrombolysis, and this could cause serious problems. In the long term, we use anti-platelet tablets such as aspirin to prevent another clot, as well as “statins” that help to lower cholesterol. Ultimately, we try to get blood pressure down. I encourage people to keep on top of their blood pressure and reduce it as much as possible; somewhere below 130 over 80 is what we aim for.

A

“FAST campaign has been effective in highlighting stroke” Recognising the symptoms of stroke is very important if we are to offer the best help to somebody who has had a stroke. The launch of the FAST campaign has been effective in raising the awareness of stroke. People must respond early to be able to get more treatment options, we are quite happy when somebody gets in early; it means that they have the best chance of a better outcome. Preventing a stroke is better than treating a stroke. The risk factors are virtually the same as those everyone knows as causes of heart disease. Smoking carries an increased risk of stroke Suspect a stroke? Act FAST. Call 999.

F A S T

acial weakness

Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

rm weakness

Can the person raise both arms?

peech problems

Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

ime to call 999

Stroke is a medical emergency.

By calling 999 early treatment can be given which can prevent further brain damage. Stroke Helpline 0845 3033 100 www.stroke.org.uk Sponsored by

© The Stroke Association 2008 The Stroke Association is registered as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales No. 61274. Registered charity No. 211015 and registered charity in Scotland No. SC037789.

Hard-hitting: Dr Davies has praised the FAST campaign in alerting the public to the warning signs of stroke

Jargon Buster: Stroke consultant Dr Davies believes in explaining stroke to his patients through simple terms

and people should try to stop. To prevent stroke we recommend doing around 20 minutes of exercise every day, and eating sensibly, and we push the “5 a day” rule. Transient Ischemic Attacks, or “mini strokes”, can be deceiving; the symptoms get better quickly; nevertheless, you need to get seen straight away. Some patients with TIA will be at a high risk of a full stroke and getting treatment early could prevent it. It may be a lucky escape if stroke symptoms go away in 20 minutes, but it is also a warning and you should go and get to hospital straight away.

“Stroke affects all ages” Stroke is a devastating illness and around 1 in 4 stroke patients are of working age – 65 years or less. It has a marked effect on their families as well as their livelihood. We work closely with disability employment officers to try and get younger patients back to work where possible. There is a whole spectrum of stroke that makes it difficult to judge how long recovery will take. Some people will be discharged from hospital very quickly, whereas other may be in hospital for 3 months or even longer. It depends on the size if stroke and what area of the brain is affected. Recovery

doesn’t end when the patient leaves hospital, it goes on and on. Rehabilitation is all about practice and repetition which seems to help recovery in the best way, it can sometimes be tiring for patients but in time, they get to see the rewards. The aim is to get other areas of the brain to take over the jobs of the affected areas. As honorary president of Carlisle Stroke Club, I meet Christine Mountain on a regular basis to get feedback from the members of CSC on developments in the stroke service at the hospital and in the community. I also give a talk at the club every year to give them a chance to hear about new developments in stroke care.

“Better to have a false alarm than miss a treatable stroke” The Carlisle Stroke Club is a really valuable place for some people as it is the only social event that they may be able to get to. There is still a tendency to put off getting things seen by a doctor. No matter how serious you think any of the symptoms are, you need urgency in getting to hospital. If it turns out to be a false alarm, we would be delighted, rather than miss a stroke that could have been treated.


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Two years on: Hillary reflects on life without BBC’s Derek Losing a loved one to stroke can be a particularly difficult time. Here, Hillary Hunter talks to Life after stroke about grieving for her partner legendary Carlisle United commentator, Derek Lacey who died in June 2009. erek and I were together for 9 years and met through a mutual friend. My friend and I had been out for a Chinese and a glass of wine, we called into Woodrow Wilson’s in Carlisle and met Derek; we were introduced and we started to talk, soon after, he asked me out for a meal and that was it we met up a couple of times and never looked back. Derek was very good company, he had a wonderful, warm sense of humour that made you laugh. One moment that sticks out in my mind was when Derek and I were walking up Warwick Road and some lads were using some very choice language, shall we say, about the football while standing outside a fish and chip shop. Suddenly they started singing “there’s only one Derek Lacey”. Most people would have carried on walking, but Derek crossed the street and started to talk to them about the match. After a little while, one of them picked up a chip, dragged it through his tomato sauce and put it in my hand. We were howling!

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“I went into a sort of vacuum” I didn’t know anything about football at all, but once I met Derek, I had to learn about it because he talked to so many people about it and always had the football on the television in the house. I had to keep abreast of what was happening. Derek had his stroke while helping me out in the shop one day. I could hear him laughing from upstairs and wouldn’t have guessed that there was anything wrong with him. He later collapsed in the shop and he died within 24 hours. We did all the right things and got him to hospital as soon as possible, but he couldn’t be saved. It was so sudden; he came in with a bright, happy smile and when he went to make us both a cup of tea, that’s when he collapsed. When Derek died, I displaced myself from everything. I’ve only just started to look out for the football results recently, since Carlisle got to Wembley. I went into a sort of vacuum. It was the only way I could cope. Derek was such a local personality that I found it very difficult to talk with people that were coming up to me in the street. I just cut myself off and got on with work - I found that work was my salvation. People were very kind and it was comforting that so many people liked him and enjoyed his commentary. People of all ages listened to him and it was nice to know that, but it was still hard to cope.

Copyright: Cumbrian Newspapers

“Hillary: “I can’t believe how much fun exuded from that little box!”

Grieving is such a personal thing, everybody deals with it differently which is why I can’t give advice to anybody else in my position. All I can say is that if you are a family member or a friend, to offer as much support as you can.

“People of all ages listened to Derek’s commentary” A few weeks before Derek died, he had been complaining of headaches and he never went to get them checked out. In some respects, we put it down to his job, as Carlisle United commentator for BBC Radio Cumbria, and all the travelling and late nights that it camewith. He would always insist on coming home straight after the matches he was covering, which sometimes saw him coming back at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.

Looking back now, the headaches may have been a warning sign for Derek. I have a very different outlook on life now. People have to love and enjoy the day. You have to ignore the silly things in life, surround yourself in laughter and be positive. My daughter, Rachel, took a gap year from starting university so that I wasn’t on my own. If it wasn’t for her, I’d be in a much worse state. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Derek is his big, wide smile. It was ear to ear – just like Mr Happy! Derek was a very happy person with a great outlook on life. He always used to say his glass was half full, not half empty. I say his glass was overflowing.  Hillary was a nurse for 12 years before taking over Precious Metals on St Albans Row 32 years ago.


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Prolific travellers determined to get back on the road again Although having a stroke has limited Joe and Maureen’s ability to see the world, the pair are determined that they will not give up what they enjoy, or give into stroke. Joe Davidson had his stroke ten years ago, which “came out of nowhere” despite having a clean bill of health. Joe’s wife of 52 years shares their experience of stroke with Sarah Langford. e were told as soon as the ambulance arrived that Joe had taken ill with a stroke. He was in hospital for five months to receive rehabilitation and physiotherapy but it didn’t make much of a difference for him then as it was quite a severe stroke; it took a few years to really notice an improvement. His entire left side was paralyzed, he lost the vision in one eye, but his speech came back within the same day, in that respect he was lucky. The stroke hasn’t really changed our outlook on life, although it has changed in the respect that we can’t do what we could before. Since we lost the car, Carlisle Stroke Club has been a lifeline for us. We couldn’t get out of the house. That was the only time we really went out in the early stages of Joe’s recovery. Nowadays we get taxi’s everywhere but that soon gets very expensive. The biggest impact for us is not being able to go travelling anymore. We used to go away quite a lot, our favourites were Canada, Australia, and South Africa We managed to get to Australia two years ago because we had an adapted chair and we were so pleased when joe was deemed fit to fly. They are so well geared up to deal with disability over there, way more than this country. He was so well looked after by everybody and we enjoyed wvery minute.

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Jetsetters: Joe and his wife Maureen are not prepared to cut short their travels

The day trips with the stroke club are fantastic especially how easy it is with their wheelchair friendly minibus. It’s just a case of getting on with it and doing the best you can: “I think I’m lucky compared to others” It was embarrassing for Joe to have people caring for him, especially getting washed by a stranger. We decided to do it all on our own as soon as we could manage. We don’t let the stroke bother us too much; we live by the motto “if it’s a nice day, we go out.” We make an effort to get out and visit a few places. Getting over a stroke is hard at first, but it

does get easier. I had to lift Joe and prop him up as he used to fall over a lot. It is the expense that really affects us; we get no extra financial help because we have our pensions. We don’t get any disability allowance so we just do what we can. Joe was very determined, if you told him he couldn’t do something, he went out and proved he could. This was the driving force behind Joe’s recovery. It was vital to carrying him such a long way. We will get back travelling around the world again.

Tailored care from Stroke Association on offer Support is vital in the aftermath of a stroke, not only for the victim but for the family and carers too. Kath Walker, part of the information, advice and support team based at Low Hesket, details the role of the Stroke Association during the recovery process. “We go to see patients on the wards at the Cumberland Infirmary each week, starting at the ward, Elm A as we get our referrals from there and explain the service on offer to the families. It is usually within the first couple of days after the stroke that we approach the patient, during this time we tell them what a stroke is and what they do next. We get their contact details and go on home visits to offer emotional support right through their stay at hospital. If they still want our support, we go on a home visit and it is there that we establish what their needs are.

We take leaflets with us about stopping smoking, adapting your diet, how to cope with not driving and many other areas. We explain about Carlisle Stroke Club and the younger stroke group for those who have strokes under the age of 65. We let them know that if they need us we are here whether it be every other week or simply a phone call every month. We can support the person for up to a year, and if the person dies, we support the family. There are various workshops available for people in recovery, such as creative writing, clay work and Nintendo Wii Fit evenings. Working in the role that I do, I find it shocking that so many people go through it. Stroke affects so many areas of a person’s life, but with support, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The Stroke Association not only helps those suffering, but also works hard to prevent the number of cases of the condition by raising

awareness and ways to reduce the risk of stroke. We would all like to have a day where it is not happening. At least people have got us helping families, helping to understand what is going on and offering support at a time when they really need it.”

Vital support: Kath delivers advice for up to a year through the Stroke Association, which has proved to play a huge role in the recovery process


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Disability allowance trade-in offered to local stroke victims People living with disability in Cumbria are being given the chance to exchange their benefits for motorised vehicles to help them get around. Motability is a national scheme for anybody who receives a Higher Rate Disability Allowance or a War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement which allows people to trade in their allowance for a three year lease on a scooter or wheelchair, which is similar to the national car scheme that works on the same basis. The package includes breakdown insurance, maintenance and the scooter itself with the hassle

of owning a motorised vehicle taken care of by Mobility Operations. Cumbria Mobility Ltd, based on Newtown Road in Carlisle, is the only accredited dealer of Motability goods in Cumbria. Managing director, Stephen Cornwell is pleased with this accolade: “To be accredited, we and our goods have to perform to the highest standards and this is something that we are very proud of.” The store, which was opened by Heather Mills in 2009, also allows for private sales in all kinds of goods that allow people living with disability to retain their independence. “We sell stair lifts, custom chairs, crutches, back supports, cushions

and much more” Mr Cornwell added. Those who decide to take advantage of the Motability scheme in Carlisle are invited to choose their own vehicle in Mr Cornwell’s shop, of which he is keen to stress: “We pride ourselves on the fact that we are not here to make a fast buck; we are here to make a difference. If an item is not suitable for a client, we will not push them to purchase it.” “We give as much advice as possible and allow the customer to make up their own mind. Why be stuck indoors in the walking capital of England?” For more information, contact Mr Cornwell on either of the numbers above.

Above: Cumbria Mobility Ltd offers a wide range of goods that allow disabled people to be self sufficient in their own home. Inset: Heather Mills (centre) after opening the store in 2009. L-R Stephen cornwell, Sharon cornwell, Heather Mills, Paul Nolan, Kerry Nicholls


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Couple worked as a team to nurse Ronnie back to health Sacrifice, pain and frustration has been no match for Ronnie and Anne Marshall’s 63 year marraige after the couple worked together to ease the side effects of stroke. Ronnie has been going to Carlisle Stroke Club since he came out of hospital, almost four years ago after suffering a stroke the night before the couple’s diamond wedding anniversary celebrations. The couple met when Ronnie was based in Austria with the army and moved to Carlisle as a couple in 1948. “The biggest problem for me is the frustration; I know exactly what I want to do, but I can’t do it.” Ronnie said. Ronnie had a lot of trouble reading and writing in the early stages of his stroke because of the impairment his vision and grip, but “we sat in the kitchen for hours and persevered with it” Anne said. “Now he is able to read the paper again.” As a result of stroke, Ronnie and Anne were forced to give up their car, their garden and much of their social life, Ronnie added: “It has had a big impact on our lives; generally speaking, the only night we get out is the Tuesday nights at the stroke club We wouldn’t be able to go to the meetings if it wasn’t for the transport that Carlisle Stroke Club provides. They are very good that way. I really enjoy Dr Davies’ slideshows, they are really informative and he tells me things in plain English.” The couple has made made a lot of friends at the stroke club and they believe that meeting people “on the same wavelength” has helped them come to terms with stroke. “We have always been close and have never been without each other. That is the main thing and it has brought us closer together. You have to deal with this the best way you can and support each other.”

“We’ve got to be strong and make the best of a bad job ” The couple believes that donations to Carlisle Stroke Club are vital: “they wouldn’t be able to do what they do without them. The lasses that volunteer there are so good” Ronnie added. Anne believes that a lot of people don’t understand stroke until it hits them. Anne said: “You realise what a huge impact it has on your life. It turns your life upside down. Ronnie gets pain now that he never used to have which causes him a lot of discomfort, which he says is one of the worst side effects of his stroke. “He’s not getting any younger, so we just hope his symptoms don’t get any worse, as long as that doesn’t happen, we will be happy. We have a nice house, a lovely family and each other, so it could be worse. We’ve just got to get on with it.” Ronnie and Anne boast an impressive family, with three sons, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren – the youngest of which is only two months old. “They try to help us as much as they can. The family takes us shopping on the weekend and come to see us at the house

Just the two of us: Ronnie and Anne have helped each other come to terms with stroke and get on with life.

on some evenings.” Since he had the stroke, Ronnie finds it difficult to pick things up, such as concepts and some words, as easily as he used to. “His memory is still quite good, his speech is ok but his left side has been impacted from a clot on the right side of his brain, making it very weak.” Anne added. When Ronnie fell ill, he complained of pain in his left leg and in his right arm: “I knew straight away that it was a stroke; call it my nurse’s instinct! said Anne Ronnie has accepted that he will never get his full movement back; even though he does all of his exercises and does what the physio tells him to do. Although the couple find it difficult to get out of the house, Anne is optimistic that they won’t be this way forever:“Now that we have 2 wheelchairs, we can go out on the bus and out for walks. We’re thinking of attempting Houghton Hall soon.We are better off than lots of other people; we have seen some pitiful cases of stroke sufferers. But we have to be strong and make the best of a bad job.”

Volunteer Celebration Event Volunteers from all over the county have been invited to celebrate the work they do as part of volunteers week which runs from the 1st to the 7th of June. The Volunteers Celebration Event will be held at the Tithe Barn in Carlisle on Monday 6th of June, starting at 12pm. Each organization that has registered will receive a certificate on the day as recognition of the work they do. Individual volunteer certificates will also be available upon request. The organizers are asking those who take part to put together a creative package to showcase the help and support they offer. Anybody wishing to attend should have their place booked before Friday 20th of May. For more information, contact Cumbria CVS on 01228 512513.


SPRING/SUMMER 2011

Life after stroke12

You’ve been snapped! Life After Stroke’s sneaky photographer, Gemma Doyle, has been busy snapping members of Carlisle Stroke Club during meetings in uncompromising positions and has been on the hunt for funny scenes. If you’re lucky enough to feature on this page, don’t hesitate to contact the editor for a copy.

Fame at last: Anything to get your face in the paper!

Hughie’s fed up of waiting now...

This guy’s too cool for you lot!

Feeding time at the zoo

Shouldn’t you two lovebirds be working?

This lady’s spoiled for choice on the way home!

Maureen’s quite literally on the edge of her seat!

Look’s like Stan’s flying lessons paid off!

I wonder what this gentleman has his eye on?

Life After Stroke  

The first edition of Carlisle Stroke Club's official magazine.

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