Stroke survivors’ support group celebrates first anniversary

Pictured at the back is Rowena Hendricks, from Strandfontein, handing lunch to Laetitia Smith, from Portland. She is flanked by her husband Charles, on her right, Henry Williams, from Lost City and Chris van der Westhuizen, from Eastridge.

Overcomers Stroke Support Group celebrated its first anniversary at Lentegeur police station on Wednesday August 23.

They thanked all of their supporters and service providers.

Lentegeur police station visible police commander Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Brickles said the stroke survivors were an inspiration to him and that they could show young people a thing or two.

He said irrespective of their physical challenges, they got up, went about their day and gathered to support and encourage each other.

“You show that there is no need to suffer in silence and that there is reason to live with purpose,” he said.

“Even though I had a stroke, I will not stop. I still have dreams. I can come out of my little corner. Meet other people and I am happy to live life to the fullest,” he said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Brickles said they would like the community to be their partners in fighting elderly abuse and report crime.

“Just because you are not able to do things does not mean you must accept abuse,” he said.

Chairman David Webber thanked everyone for their presence and support over the last year.

He survived a stroke in August 2019, lost the use of his left side, upper and lower extremities, walks with a cane and cannot use his left hand and arm.

Mr Webber said his stroke taught him that the best help to a stroke survivor and their family were those who had experienced the same injury. So, he created a support group.

“We need to find a way to share our experiences, learn from each other and somehow get our voices heard,” he said.

It is the support group’s vision to see stroke survivors empowered with knowledge, hope, awareness and able to reach their highest potential.

According to the Western Cape Department of Health, a stroke occurs when blood vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain suddenly become blocked or burst.

When this happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so the affected brain cells die.

This can result in parts of the brain being permanently damaged.

The symptoms of stroke appear suddenly and often there’s more than one symptom at the same time.

Signs and symptoms include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg on one side of the body; sudden confusion; sudden loss of speech, or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden loss of vision; sudden dizziness, loss of balance or trouble with walking; and a sudden severe or unusual headache.

Knowing the signs of a stroke and seeking immediate medical help can improve the outcome of the stroke.

They meet monthly at Lentegeur police station monthly and invite guests to assist in accessing information and resources to live fulfilled lives. Their next meeting on Wednesday September 27, at 10am. For more information and to join call Mr Webber on 073 511 3961.

Pictured from left are Arisen Women Foundation administrators Gayslo-An Nomdo, Mikayle Tamara Moses, Lentegeur librarian Ayesha Lennert and Nuraan September.
Supporter of and members of the Overcomers’ Community Support Group