A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. Each year in Northern Ireland, around 4,000 people have a stroke or a mini-stroke – that’s about 11 people per day. Stroke is the third biggest killer in Northern Ireland, with around 1,000 stroke-related deaths per year, and is the leading cause of disability in the UK.
Stroke can be devastating, not only for the person who has had the stroke, but also for their family and friends. It is sudden and can leave some stroke survivors with serious, long-term disabilities. There are more than 36,000 stroke survivors in Northern Ireland today – over half of whom have a long-term disability. Stroke can impact on a person’s physical mobility, speech and eyesight and can cause extreme tiredness and fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest.
Around a third of stroke survivors experience some level of aphasia, which affects their ability to speak, read, write or understand what others are saying. 1 in 3 stroke survivors experience depression following their stroke, while around 75% report arm or leg weakness.
The Stroke Association funds life-saving research, provides support services for people affected by stroke, produce stroke publications and expert information for stroke survivors and their families, and campaigns to raise awareness of stroke and influence policy. In Northern Ireland, they employ qualified Speech and Language Therapists to deliver communication support courses to stroke survivors with aphasia, to help them relearn new skills of communication and rebuild lost confidence.
The Make May Purple campaign aims to increase public awareness of stroke and raise funds to support stroke survivors across the UK to adapt to life after stroke and regain their independence. This year the Stroke Association are asking people to ‘Go Purple for Pounds’ to raise vital funds for stroke survivors in their local area and across the UK. You can encourage your friends or colleagues to wear purple for a day, have a purple party, even dye your hair purple!
To find out more about the work of the Stroke Association and the Make May Purple Campaign, visit the website.