Stroke group still providing vital support to survivors

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Representatives from the Stroke Association were amongst those invited to the Mid Ulster Stroke support Group’s 20th anniversary celebration.

The birthday celebration took place in Cookstown recently and more than 70 members, carers and friends of the Mid Ulster stroke support group gathered together in the Glenavon House Hotel to celebrate and remember the foundation of this vital support group 20 years ago.

The event featured presentations on the group’s history, along with some excellent guest speakers and musical entertainment.

The group was founded by speech therapist Eleanor Gildea and friends to provide support for people with communication difficulties after stroke.

Since then, the group has gone from strength to strength and expanded to its current membership of approximately 25 regular members coming from all over Mid Ulster.

The group is part of the Stroke Association’s network of local support groups but is managed by a committee of stroke survivors, carers and volunteers from the Mid Ulster area.

This includes the group’s current Chairperson and long-time volunteer Mary Convery who thanked everyone who has contributed to the group’s success over the years.

Local stroke survivors and group members, Derek Short, Carolyn Smith and Nicola Harkin, also gave a moving description of their own personal stroke journey showing how that journey has changed and expanded over the years and stressing the importance of long-term support for stroke recovery.

Councillor Martin Kearney, Chairman of the Mid Ulster Council thanked all those involved with the provision of such a valuable support resource in the area.

Barry Macaulay, Director of the Stroke Association in Northern Ireland then presented certificates of recognition to the many volunteers who support the group and the wider work of the Stroke Association.

To conclude the event, local clergy led a service of remembrance for those members and carers who have sadly passed since the formation of the group two decades ago.

Mark Dyer, Volunteer Community manager at the Stroke Association, paid tribute to the volunteers that faithfully give of their time to assist with the running of the group each week.

He said the Stroke Association is here to support people to rebuild their lives after stroke.