Life after stroke is the main focus of the Stroke Association of Victoria and the mission of Executive Director James Garland, who works to bring attention to the issue everyday.

When Nick McDonald sat down with Executive Director of the Stoke Association of Victoria in their centre in Geelong, there was a sense of hope in the air.

Sitting within the main dining area of the centre were a group of several stroke survivors, each with their own story about their ongoing path to recovery and their experiences with the effects of stroke.

“No two strokes are the same,” said James. “Some people have weakness on their left side, some people, a year after their stroke you would not be able to tell they had a stroke. Some people have really bad strokes and they are left incapacitated. Some people will lose their speech. Some people will have extreme fatigue. Some people will seem fine straight after the stroke then will start to encounter a whole lot of other issues like mental health issues. The one thing we do know is you use it or lose it.”

Surrounded by signs of a thriving community hub and resource where people can go for ongoing support, James reveals the struggles many face when recovering from this life changing event.

“Unlike a lot of conditions, when you have a stroke you don’t recover quickly. It’s not like a broken arm where it heals and you carry on. Stroke tends to become almost chronic disease like. People recover for years and years after stroke. It can take a minimum of a year or two before you get back to being in a stable situation. Some of the people we work with will tell us a decade on that it is still improving and they are picking up new skills, so your life after stroke really is your life after stroke.”

With such a serious condition impacting the lives of many Australians everyday, it is organisations like the Stroke Association of Victoria who are committed to ensuring the resources and opportunities are there for survivors on their road to recovery.

“There is opportunity to reskill yourself and try and get back to work and recover as best you can and then almost tackle a new life,” said James.

In this fascinating and eye-opening discussion, James shares with Nick the battles that survivors face, reinforcing the importance of supporting organisations like the Stoke Association of Victoria as they continue to provide the services and resources to those in the community who need it the most.

Sitting down with James, he shares insight and passion into this important issue facing our communities.

Watch the full video of the Stoke Association of Victoria’s James Garland here.