F.A.S.T. action can save lives and reduce the disability a person might have after their stroke. Read these stories about people
Kevin Martin's Story
Groom to be Kevin Martin from Kildare spotted the signs of a stroke after seeing the Irish Heart Foundation's F.A.S.T. TV ad. He was assessed quickly and was eligible for the clot-busting medicine, thrombolysis. Kevin started to recovery straight away and four days later he walked down the aisle and got married!
Nuala Cruise's Story
On the 27th of October, 2010, Nuala Cruise, a 66 year old retired mother of four from Wexford was struck by stroke.
I got up that morning and I was doing some housework. I took the laundry downstairs and as I was putting it in the washing machine when my leg went from under me. I fell on the floor and couldn’t move. I tried to get up but I couldn’t. Thankfully my husband was home at the time. He came in saw my face had fallen on one side and because it had seen the Irish Heart Foundation F.A.S.T. stroke TV ad he knew to call 999 straight away. He then propped me up until the ambulance came to bring me to Wexford General Hospital.
I was seen very quickly, had my CT scan and they told me I was a good candidate for thrombolysis. They told me the risks involved and we decided I should get the treatment. All this was done within an hour and a half. When I was recovering in the hospital the doctor told me that I had atrial fibrillation (AF) and this caused my stroke. I was told I had this before a few years back but was only given aspirin and nothing more was said about it. I spent a week in hospital and I was then transferred to St. John’s Community Hospital in Enniscorthy for rehabilitation. I spent 12 weeks in St. Johns and I’m home two weeks now. I’m doing well but I have some left sided weakness, my leg is ok but unfortunately my hand is still quite sore. I have to pay for private physiotherapy because the waiting list is too long in Wexford to see a physiotherapist and I want to keep up the therapy on my arm. I still go to Wexford General Hospital as an outpatient for occupational therapy. I have to go for warfarin treatment as well to manage the atrial fibrillation. Being on the warfarin is tough though because we don’t have a medical card and it is quite expensive.
I hope to get back driving, I will when I feel up to it but I must do a test with the Irish Wheelchair Association before I can go back. I used to walk every day before my stroke so hopefully I will be able to do that again soon too.
Gary Smith's Story
“My name is Gary Smith and I’m 37 years old. I was on my way to play golf last July when I suffered a stroke.
I had headaches the day before but that morning I felt fine. My friend Jim collected me, I put the golf clubs in his car and we left. As he drove away from my house I tried to put my seat belt on and realised I couldn’t move my right arm, I could see it but I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t move it.
I had no pain, no warning, nothing. I tried to talk to him but nothing was coming out. Jim looked over and saw my face had dropped and I was slurring my words so he turned around and drove me back home. Jim and my wife Clare brought me inside the house and sat me on a chair in the hall. I hadn’t got a clue what was happening but Clare kept reassuring me she would get help.
I now know that if it wasn’t for my wife’s fast reactions calling 999 that I might not be here talking to you all today. Our story is proof that the Irish Heart Foundation’s F.A.S.T. campaign really does help save lives.”
His wife Clare adds: “Myself and Gary know that even though this has been tough, we are the lucky ones. If I had not seen the Irish Heart Foundation’s F.A.S.T. TV ad, I would not have recognised that Gary was having a stroke. We are living proof that F.A.S.T. works. And I’d like to say to everyone out there, no matter what age you are, you need to know the signs and symptoms of stroke because nobody knows when a stroke will strike and Gary is proof that it can happen to anyone, at any age. But if you know the symptoms, you can act F.A.S.T. and help save a life.”
Eoghan and Niall O'Reilly's Story
Niall (16) and Eoghan (12) from Portmarnock saved their Dad, Tony, then 61, after he was struck by stroke. Fortunately, he survived thanks to his sons who recognised that he was having a stroke even before he realised what was happening.
Amazingly, Niall recognised the symptoms having seen the FAST advertisement on television which gives the warning signs of stroke. According to Tony's doctors, the quick reactions of his sons undoubtedly saved his life. Eoghan, who was 11 when his Dad fell ill in their front garden, remembers the day vividly.
"It was really scary,I didn't really know what was happening to Dad until Niall said he was having a stroke. I didn't know what to do except call the doctor and then we put him in the recovery position on some cushions on the floor in the kitchen. It was like the ad because his face dropped on one side and his speech was a little slurred."
Niall immediately called 999 and put Tony in the recovery position until the ambulance attended the scene a little over five minutes later.
Daire Kavanagh's Story
Daire Kavanagh, daughter of Michelle and Paul Kavanagh, was on her own with her grandmother, Vera Connolly, when her Granny was struck by stroke:
“I realised that the right side of her face had dropped and that she was trying to tell me something but I couldn’t understand it. I then remembered the advertisement I saw on tv about how to notice the signs of a stroke – F.A.S.T.”
Daire called 999 for help, which meant that within ten minutes, an ambulance arrived, and the paramedics confirmed that Mrs. Connolly was indeed having a stroke. Mrs. Connolly, who lives in Dublin, was brought to Tallaght Hospital. Daire, who is in Transition Year at school in Trim, was staying with her grandmother while undertaking a week’s work experience at a hair salon in Dublin.
Paddy Clancy's story
Journalist and broadcaster, Paddy Clancy, believes his life was saved by getting to hospital quickly when his wife realised he was having a stroke.
"I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for my wife recognising my stroke. I was travelling on a bus and from the other end of the phone my wife immediately knew I was having a stroke because of my troubled speech. Without hesitation she called an ambulance to intercept the bus and bring me to hospital, even though I insisted I didn't need one. For once, I am glad she ignored me. It could have been a very different outcome for me if she hadn't insisted on calling the emergency services".
Anne-Marie from Sligo sent us this email about the F.A.S.T. ad
"My Dad had a mini-stroke this morning and thankfully he was very aware that something was happening to him and luckily my Brother was in the house. They got to the hospital straight away. Dad is in the hospital for the weekend as they want to keep an eye on him. All the signs of the stroke disappeared in an hour and Dad is in fine form now.
This evening, while we were sitting in the Family Room at the Hospital I asked my Brother why he acted so fast and I how he knew about all the signs. He said it was your advert on TV. We decided that we had to e-mail you and say well done and thanks. A media campaign that is useful, quite rare".
Tell us your stroke story
Doctors have been telling us that larger numbers of patients are getting to hospital quickly after seeing the F.A.S.T. ads.
If you, or someone you know, has recognised the signs of stroke by using F.A.S.T. please contact us at email@example.com to tell us your story.
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