Stroke survivors in Cardiff are being encouraged to use their experience to support others who’ve recently had a stroke.
Following the celebration of Volunteers Week the Stroke Association is looking for more people like Haydn Canter from Barry, who had a stroke at 59, but has used his experience to make a positive difference.
Haydn, who’s now 64, was left paralysed down one side, constantly tired and struggling to regain his independence following his stroke.
He found spending time with other people who were facing the same challenges was a boost to his confidence and helped him begin to rebuild his life. He is now doing the same for others.
“I had no idea how much the stroke would change my life. Luckily I had the right support.
“I now run a patient art group at Llandough Hospital’s stroke rehab unit, which really benefits people who feel like things can’t get better after a stroke.
“I’ve also helped start a coffee meet-up group at Barry’s Age connect Cafe. People can find life difficult after stroke, especially socialising. Volunteering to help other survivors get together and sharing how stroke has affected me has had a positive impact on my own life, as well as the lives of others.”
Each year around 7,400 people will have a stroke in Wales and there are almost 70,000 stroke survivors living in Wales.
Carol Bott, Director of the Stroke Association in Wales, said:
“When stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down, and so does a part of you. Life changes instantly and recovery can be tough. But the brain can adapt, with support, and we want both stroke survivors and carers to know that there is help and support out there.
“Volunteers are vital in helping all those whose lives are changed so suddenly after stroke to live the best life they can.”
Opportunities to volunteer to help the running of stroke groups and activities in Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys include:
- Voluntary Group Supporter, Cardiff’s Fairwater day service, each Monday at 10.30 -12.30 and 12.30 – 2.30: www.stroke.org.uk/region/wales
- Stroke Café Supporter, Aberdare, every other Tuesday at 10-11.30am www.stroke.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering/stroke-caf%C3%A9-supporter
- Blaenau Gwent, every other Thursday, time TBC: www.stroke.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering/stroke-caf%C3%A9-supporter
- Support group chairperson, Merthyr, Mondays 2-3pm: www.stroke.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering/key-voluntary-group-committee-member
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