Magherafelt wife and mum, Lisa Brown, was named Carer of the Year at Thursday night’s Northern Ireland Life After Stroke Awards.
It fell to the 40-year-old to care for her whole family after her husband Peter suffered a stroke in 2014, despite being diagnosed with a bowel tumour and undergoing chemotherapy last year.
As well supporting Peter during his ongoing recovery, Lisa - a library assistant from The Loup - also had two young sons Ben and Euan, to look after while facing serious health problems of her own.
She was diagnosed with a tumour in her bowel and had to undergo chemotherapy, a development that she said turned her life upside down.
Just 45 at the time, Peter could not walk or talk, but with the support of Lisa, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy, he has progressed to the point that he now volunteers to help other stroke survivors.
But Peter still lives with the common effects of stroke, such as fatigue, right sided weakness and aphasia – a devastating disability which affects his ability to communicate.
Speaking after the awards Lisa said: “I am very surprised and delighted to have won this award. After Peter’s stroke, it was incredibly difficult to tell my young sons that their dad was seriously ill.
“After the initial shock, the long terms of effects of stroke have been difficult to deal with but we’ve worked through this together as a family. Our two sons have been an incredible support to both Peter and I and I’m just so proud of them.
“I think I’ve just done what anyone else would have done in my situation but it’s lovely to have something so positive happen in recognition for what we’ve been through”.
Tom Richardson, Northern Ireland Director, Stroke Association said: “Like many carers, Lisa is selfless and incredibly committed to supporting her husband in his recovery from stroke.
“Despite her own ill health, Lisa has always been positive and supported Peter and their family every step of the way.,” he added.
“Carers like Lisa play such an important role in supporting their loved ones affected by stroke and she is a very deserving winner of the Carer of the Year Award.”