The Stroke Association - Pass it on!

Hi everyone, sorry it's been such a long time between posts but things have been a little hectic around here! Having just returned from a conference run by The Stroke Association, I am feeling inspired to write about a few things - so here you go!

After Charlotte became ill, it was extremely important to me to raise as much awareness as possible about what had happened and how it was affecting her. Between writing this blog and putting on our own events I have become involved with The Stroke Association and was very kindly asked if I would be a Stroke Ambassador for them predominantly within the childhood stroke arena. I am incredibly proud to work with this fabulous charity and today I attended their North West conference where I met staff, some of the volunteers, fund raisers and some inspirational stroke survivors.

Throughout the day we were invited to take part in workshops based on different topics. I joined one based on campaigning with The Stroke Association and another on The Emotional Effects of Stroke. The first gave a great insight into the work being carried out already by the charity, the ground breaking research carried out and the relentless work done within parliament in order to change and improve services and care for stroke survivors. I'm particularly excited by the work coming up based around childhood strokes as personally, I don't think there is anywhere near enough available for these magnificent children after they survive a stroke. Please don't take that to mean they aren't receiving the best of what's available and that the care isn't up to scratch. On the contrary the care Charlotte received was phenomenal however, more specialist services and treatments are desperately needed.

The second workshop I attended, I took part in with Charlotte's sister, Megan. This was about the emotional impact of stroke and I felt it would be beneficial for Megan to hear that maybe other people were experiencing the same or similar emotions and thoughts as she had/has regarding a loved one suffering a stroke, or that she would hear how other stroke survivors felt and that may help her understand her sister more. I could not have been prouder as my usually shy and reserved daughter opened up and gave her examples and experiences articulately and appropriately. Well done kiddo!

After the workshops and to close off the day, there was an opportunity for a question and answer session where the whole group got together to discuss any issues. One thing that stood out for me was that people seemed to feel that resources were being pointed in the wrong direction or not enough in the right direction and it's this that has made me want to write.

It was pointed out that there is far more given in terms of money and attention, to charities such as animal welfare charities for example and it was also pointed out that these types of charities have a far wider and greater reach as a direct result of having more donations/regular supporters/bigger advertising budgets etc.

To take animals as an example, we are all brought up either with a family pet or a friend's family pet, and with nice pictures in our story books of fluffy kittens and puppies and ducklings etc. We are brought up (hopefully!) to be kind to animals and look after them. So when we see advertising we immediately feel an affinity and of course, donate and help out.

In terms of my experience of stroke and awareness of the subject, I didn't realise that a perfectly healthy 7 year old girl could have a stroke and I come from a family who work in the NHS and have been brought up on this stuff. Every single conversation I've had has garnered the same response, "Can children have strokes?!" or "And she was 7?!" - I even had this response at the event today, people are just shocked to hear of a 7 year old little girl experiencing a stroke.

So what can WE do? The Stroke Association is an amazing organisation which has been providing support and research for 20 years now. They could do this for a further 200 years but if WE start talking about it and promoting conversations within our communities then the message will get out there much quicker and those services will be there, the funding will be there, the presence will be there. The Stroke Association do an amazing job of supporting families ALREADY affected by stroke and are working incredibly hard to get their 'brand' out there to have a bigger presence but guess how that works ... WE talk about it. Think of the biggest brand you know, it didn't get to the size it is without people talking to their friends about it ...

So get sharing Facebook statuses, Retweet posts on Twitter, get a poster up in your window, get a sticker in the back of your car, talk about it around the dinner table, organise a cake sale, get a representative from The Stroke Association to come and give a talk at your school or fundraising event, have a look at the website and sign up for the newsletter and then forward those e mails to everyone in your address book, talk to and spend time with someone who's had a stroke, organise a 'wear purple for the day' event at the office or school ... May 2013 is Action on Stroke month and I officially dare you, in fact I DOUBLE DARE YOU to do one of the things listed above. I would be more than happy to help you organise it so get in touch with me on or 07716 516 450 if you would like some help or ideas on the subject.

The Stroke Association can't do everything on their own, they have given us all a fantastic platform to shout from so get out there shout from it.

Have a look at for more details and ways in which you can help.

Thanks as always for reading <3 xxx


  1. Thank-you Leila! It was amazing to meet you and the family Neve yesterday and we are blown away by your support. Megan and Charlotte are both amazing young girls and we look forward to working with you all over the coming year (and beyond!) :)
    Chris L

  2. It was great to meet you yesterday. Charlotte's story and the family's experience following her stroke were so valuable to everyone in the workshop as childhood stroke is not something they probably have much experience of. Thank you for sharing those experiences with us. I agree with you about Megan - she obviously has a great empathy with her sister and her contribution to the workshop was fantastic! As I said yesterday - she is welcome to come along to my workshops anytime! Lisa :)


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