Brisbane couples heartfelt thank you

Greenbank woman Lauren Bickley is marking the 2021 National Stroke Week (August 2-8) by saying thank you to the health professionals who played a role in saving her husband’s life after a devastating stroke along with those who supported his recovery.

Shaun Bickley suffered a stroke last year at the age of 38. His frightening experience began with a severe headache one night and by morning he had lost his sight in one eye. The father of two went to hospital for tests before having a stroke while there.

Lauren said it was incredibly scary, especially because Shaun was so young and had always been healthy.

“Shaun suffered paralysis down one side, lost his sight in both eyes and was unable to speak,” Lauren said.

“I was warned to brace for the worst, which is heart-breaking, but thankfully Shaun pulled through.”

Stroke strikes the brain, the human control centre, responsible for our thoughts, movements and feelings. It can happen to anyone at any age and change lives in an instant.

In 2020, there were more than 5,300 first time strokes in Queensland, while more than 87,000 survivors of stroke survivors are living in the community.

Lauren added: “After six weeks, Shaun was moved to a rehabilitation centre, where he began to walk, talk and regain function again. Things were looking up, but then he suffered a second stroke.

“It was devastating, but Shaun was determined to get back on his feet for our family. With a lot of hard work and persistence, he is making great gains in his recovery and is now walking with a stick.”

This National Stroke Week, Lauren and Shaun have joined with Stroke Foundation to urge local residents to learn and share the most common signs of stroke, F.A.S.T (Face. Arms. Speech. Time), to help save lives and reduce disability from stroke.

Shaun Bickley with his family

Using the F.A.S.T test involves asking these simple questions:

• Face Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

• Arms Can they lift both arms?

• Speech Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

• Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call triple zero (000) straight away

Stroke Foundation Queensland State Manager Andrea Sanders thanked Lauren and Shaun for sharing their story to help spread the word about stroke.

“Stroke doesn’t just effect the individual, it’s impact is also felt by those who love them the most,” Ms Sanders said.

National Stroke Week is the Stroke Foundation’s annual stroke awareness campaign and this year the theme is ‘United by Stroke’. Ms Sanders says it an opportunity to thank those who play a role in a stroke emergency, from the person who calls 000, to the paramedics, surgeons and allied health professionals.

“Those actions unite people along the stroke journey and improve the chance of survival and recovery. Getting that urgent medical attention is so critical, which is why we want everyone to learn the F.A.S.T message.”

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