Stroke Smart Magazine
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Make a Difference: National Stroke Awareness Month
by Diane Mulligan
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and every year at this time a lot of people ask me how they can get involved. Here are some of the most common questions and answers.
What can I do to raise stroke awareness during this time?
Start with your family and friends. Make sure they know the basics:
- How to manage their risk factors to lower their stroke risk; more than half a million strokes can be prevented each year.
- F.A.S.T. (Face-Arm-Speech-Time): an easy way to recognize strokes.
- The location of the closest stroke center hospital in their area.
You can find all of this information at www.stroke.org. Share your stroke knowledge while chatting on the phone, through emails and blogs, and on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. Make presentations to your church or other groups with which you’re involved.
Is there a specific message or theme I should know about?
In 2008, National Stroke Association is focusing on four key areas: TIA (mini-stroke),
cholesterol, recurrent stroke, and recognizing symptoms using the F.A.S.T. (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) tool. We will have materials on each of these messages.
How do I make presentation?
National Stroke Association offers a community education PowerPoint presentation that includes notes about what to say during your talk. You can download it at www.stroke.org. Add your personal story so that your audience sees first-hand the face of stroke.
What can I do at my workplace?
Go to www.stroke.org and click on the National Stroke Awareness Month link to find free downloadable items to distribute at your workplace. We can provide video for your interoffice television feeds, or do stroke screenings. We also can develop a comprehensive National Stroke Awareness plan specifically for your company. Call 800-STROKES (787-6537) if you’d like to work more closely with National Stroke Association. Remember, this is also a great time to tell local television stations and newspapers what your company is doing for National Stroke Awareness Month and possibly get some very positive coverage.
What can I do in my community?
You can either participate in a health fair or put one on yourself. This is also a great time to seek out stroke survivors and share some special time. Remember that many
stroke survivors feel ostracized in public because of speech, memory or movement issues. Many are home bound. If you don’t know a local stroke survivor but would like to
reach out, contact a stroke center hospital or support group in your area and ask for ideas. Both can be located at www.stroke.org.
What is available for the kids?
National Stroke Association has an entire section of www.stroke.org dedicated to educating children and to helping kids teach others. The program is called Brainiac Kids. Maybe your child’s scout troop would be interested in learning more. How about the kid’s church or Sunday school group? Educating the kids now will make a difference in our country’s future from how many strokes we’ll see each year and how many lives we can save by recognizing symptoms and acting fast, to how people view stroke survivors.
Any final comments?
Whatever you do, have fun! You can make such a difference!
Diane Mulligan is the Vice President of National Communications at National Stroke Association.
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