Stroke survivors share stories, provide advice

Stroke survivors Brian Holmberg, left, and Janet Poole, centre, with Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Margaret Bell.
Stroke survivors Brian Holmberg, left, and Janet Poole, centre, with Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Margaret Bell.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Living with the affects of a stroke has a huge impact on a victim and families.

That was the message of a heart and stroke information evening Sept. 8 at the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre Performing Arts Centre.

“You have to think positive and get back on the right track,” says Brian Holmberg, 70, who hosted the event and suffered a stroke Feb. 1.
“I want to educate people and it’s important to share this information. Caring and sharing go a long way.”

Janet Poole suffered a stroke in February 2015 and shared how that has impacted her life.

“If you have a stroke, don’t give up, just say to yourself, ‘I can, I can, I can do this,’” says Poole, 79, as she read from a prepared speech she wrote.

“It takes less than a minute to have a stroke, but a lot longer to recover.”

The stroke affected her speech and swallowing.

“You get no warning when a stroke hits, so that’s why it’s important to know your risk factors,” says Margaret Bell, area manager of the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation.
“Going for a walk 30 minutes a day will do a lot to improve your health and reduce the risk of a stroke.”

Healthy lifestyles with physical exercise and good dieting and eating are key ingredients to prevent stroke and heart attack, she notes.

“It’s important to have your blood pressure checked, and cholesterol levels,” adds Holmberg, who quit smoking after 55 years.

Someone who has had mini strokes is a prime candidate to have a major stroke, Bell says.
“A person might not make sense when they communicate, that’s a sign,” she says.
“A stroke also doubles your risk of getting dementia.”

One in three Canadians will develop a stroke, dementia, or both, Bell says.

That’s why it’s important for people to regularly visit their doctor and follow the advice.

Bell pointed out other key points that every 10 minutes, a Canadian has a stroke and 75 per cent of survivors are left with some form of deformity.

She presented the key points to learn the signs of a stroke.

– Face – Is it drooping?
– Arms – Can you raise both?
– Speech – Is it blurred or jumbled?
– Time to call 911 right away.

The foundation web- site also adds other vital steps to respond to someone having a stroke. If you, or someone with you, experiences any of these signs, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

Acting quickly can improve your survival and recovery. Do not drive yourself or the person having a stroke to the hospital. An ambulance will get you to the best hospital for stroke care.

For information on stroke, visit the website at heartandstroke.ca.

The event was co-sponsored by the Town of High Prairie, Big Lakes County, the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board, Select Equipment Rentals, South Peace News, Amiro’s Steak House, and deSIGNS by Tam.

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