Fridge magnet a lifesaver as symptoms of stroke appear

Most of us have magnets on the fridge, holding up family photos or the shopping list.  We do not expect them to help diagnose a medical emergency.  But that is exactly what happened to Upper Hutt’s Ray and Noeline Henderson, when Ray had a stroke recently.

On their fridge, next to a picture of the cat and an Upper Hutt Leader article about their grandson, is a Stroke Foundation FAST magnet.  Ray, 83 suffered a stroke at home in April and his care and full recovery is down to Noeline knowing what to do and having that stroke emergency information close by.

Noeline told Ray that she thought he was having a stroke.  “I was scared, we both were and we cried and hugged each other.”  “I was thinking the worst, that I’d be paralysed or something,” Ray said. 

Now, more than ever, they believe everyone should learn the Stroke Foundation’s FAST message.  “If I hadn’t seen that magnet so often, I wouldn’t have even thought of a stroke,” Noeline said. 

“FAST works,” Stroke Foundation chief executive Mark Vivian said.  “It can be the difference between life and death, or recovery and disability.  We know that because we’ve heard from people thanking FAST for making a huge difference when they had a stroke.”

A nationwide campaign to help Kiwis recognise the signs of a stroke, and call 111, began yesterday.  Vivian said speed was at the key to getting the best outcome. 

Think FASTFace drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 111. 

Abridged, taken from an article from Fairfax Media-  Southland Daily Times, 6 June 2017