Stroke Survivor William Thompson and carer Hazel Shields have been recognised for their fundraising achievements at the Northern Ireland Life after Stroke Award Celebrations.
At the event in Riddell Hall, Belfast, William was nominated for Volunteer of the Year and Hazel was nominated in the Carers Award Category.
The Northern Ireland Life after Stroke Award Celebration Event recognises everyone in Northern Ireland who was nominated for a UK Life after Stroke Award.
The UK Life after Stroke Awards were held in London on December 1 when around 30 people from across Northern Ireland received recognition certificates at the event.
William was nominated for the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ category. This category is for volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the Stroke Association as a volunteer, demonstrating the great dedication, commitment and compassion that is at the heart of all volunteering.
William had his stroke in April 2010 when he was 54 years old. Following his stroke William experienced severe aphasia – a communication disability which affects around a third of stroke survivors. William has done a number of volunteering roles at the Stroke Association over the past five year such as: volunteering at the Speech and Language Therapy Groups, taking part in Lessons for Life stroke awareness presentations and helping out at local fundraising events with his family.
William also accompanies the Speech and Language Therapists who are delivering training on aphasia. He has also taken part in an Aphasia Training DVD which shows people how to communicate effectively with someone who has aphasia. William has used his experience of living with aphasia to make stroke survivors at ease and to encourage them to keep on working at developing their communication.
He was nominated by Sharon Millar, a Speech and Language Therapist at the Stroke Association.
Hazel is the carer of her husband Richard who had his first stroke in August 2014. Richard went on to have a second stroke in 2015. Both were in their early 30’s and have three young children. Hazel has now become his full time carer and has had to balance this with looking after their children. Richard and Hazel have shared their story in the press to raise awareness of the Stroke Association’s Step out for Stroke Event in Antrim and have gotten involved in their Make May Purple campaign.
Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association who attended the event, said: “Congratulations to William and Hazel on being nominated for a UK Life after Stroke Award. A stroke happens in an instant and often changes lives forever. We were thrilled that so many people across Northern Ireland were nominated to receive a Life After Stroke Award. Our Northern Ireland event highlights the tremendous courage people have shown in rebuilding their lives after a stroke, or in helping others to do the same. There are over 4,000 strokes in Northern Ireland each year with around 36,000 people living with the effects of stroke. The Stroke Association provides a range of services to support stroke survivors and their carers across Northern Ireland. This includes Stroke Recovery and Speech and Language Therapy services commissioned by the five local Health and Social Care Trusts.”
For more information visit www.stroke.org.uk/LASA