Honourary Secretary of the Tipperary Peace Convention, Mr Martin Quinn, has said he was delighted to attend the Houses of the Oireachtas at the invitation of Senator Trevor O'Clochartaigh, on February 22nd, to speak to cross party politicians about suffering a stroke and my recovery.
“It was great to see such cross party representation and to get the message across to the members of the importance of care and services for stroke survivors,” said Martin. “While telling my own personal story about being inspired by Malala Yousafzai, I got across some important points about awareness and after stroke care and rehab services which are currently so inadequate.
“I spoke about the challenges faced daily by stroke survivors; physically, emotionally and financially and about the lack of support for survivors, and of the need for increased funding for services. There is great stress for those who can not return to work after a stroke wondering how to survive financially and this can be a major issue to deal with along with the very real daily pressures associated with the illness itself. I said that there should be easy access to rehab care for stroke victims rather than having people feel frustrated, angry and stressed at the difficulty in accessing after care services. I hear stories all the time from stroke survivors of their difficulties in these areas.
“I myself felt like I had been dropped into the ocean without a life jacket when I was discharged from hospital following my stroke. You are in a bubble in the hospital and suddenly you are discharged home with no support. I can not adequately relate the sense of frustration and despair that I felt at that time.
“I said that it was important though to realise that there is life after stroke, even if that life is vastly different from what it was before, and to be aware that it can be a very good life too. T.D.'s and Senators that were present for my talk have promised to raise these matters, including the issue of a dedicated specialist stroke nurse at South Tipperary General Hospital, as the post there is currently not filled. It is vital to stroke victims and survivors that this post is filled without delay as it has left a huge vacuum for survivors and their families and carers, and for the South Tipperary Stroke community.
“I also spoke about the great work being done by the Stroke Support Groups around the country and by the new United for Stroke forum for younger stroke survivors, and of the crucial support from the Irish Heart Foundation. I spoke about the numbers of young people who are stroke survivors and referenced a recent radio interview where Ryan Tubridy spoke to 19 year old Shannonree Maher, who suffered a stroke when she was 17. I said that it is not an older person’s illness and that stroke can strike at any age and at any time.
“That is why awareness is so vital and why the FAST campaign is such an important message. I then had the opportunity to go into the Seanad and to hear Senator Trevor O'Clochartaigh speak about the importance of my talk and of the matters that I raised and he was supported by Senator Paul Gavan and Senator Máire Devine. Senator O'Clochartaigh also promised to follow up with members and also with the Health Committee. I am very pleased with how it went and thankful for the support of Helena O'Donnell of the Irish Heart Foundation, Senator Trevor O'Clochartaigh and of my family and friends. I was also delighted that the Papal Nuncio, Most Reverend Jude Thaddeus Okolo, attended to hear my talk,” concluded Mr Quinn.