Did you know that May is Stroke Awareness Month? Probably not! Frankly, do not be ashamed, but rather be alarmed.
Based on my observations few know, which to me is unbelievable given that Stroke is the number 5 most lethal disease and number 1 long term disabler! Admittedly, as Founder of Stroke Recovery Foundation I am biased, and quite sensitive to the issue. But, so should others since Time is Brain and lack of awareness can have catastrophic consequences.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of chairing a CEU course for practicing occupational therapists. Early in the presentation I asked who knew when Stroke Awareness Month was – no one had the answer.
Now the reason knowing that Stroke Awareness is in May, or any month, is so important is that this is a bit of proof that stroke media coverage is woeful. (It isn’t just me shooting off.) When people know, then the media – social and traditional is on target and spreading the word.
That got me to wondering – why is stroke awareness so incredibly low? In a call last week to a team member I know at the World Stroke Organization headquarters in Europe I inquired as to why she thought Stroke Awareness seems to be so poor?
The answer – the brand is poor and recognition sorely lacking.
Being a change agent, one of our missions at our Foundation is to increase awareness ASAP.
Before we go any further, let’s examine – just what is awareness of any disease because though the medicine may be different for each disease – the concept of awareness is not. The dictionary defines awareness as “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact”, for example. – “we need to raise public awareness of the issue”. Synonyms are recognition, consciousness, understanding, grasp, perception, and cognizance.
Having said all of this seemingly academic chatter please understand that there are a ton of things to be aware of regarding stroke, many of which are mentioned on this site.
But the three most important are:
- 80% of strokes are preventable by being more mindful of your lifestyle, and then taking the necessary steps to implement change when it is called for. It makes sense that if 4 out of 5 strokes are preventable – don’t you want to reduce your personal stroke risks;
- Stroke Recovery is a lifetime effort and journey in which improvements can be achieved many years after the stroke occurs. The recovery time frame, and this is important, does not have some preordained time limit no matter what anyone says;
- Call 911 IMMEDIATELY IF YOU SUSPECT STROKE – act immediately and ask questions later.
To fulfill our awareness mission requires financial resources! We need to work with the media, advertise, speak and write pieces like this to name a few.
During Stroke Awareness Month we ask that you donate to support our efforts of increasing stroke awareness. Let me assure you that every dollar that you donate goes to reach people like yourself to increase your stroke knowledge. The life you save – maybe your own or a loved one!
SAVE A LIFE, IMPROVE A LIFE!
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