Grafton local recognised for stroke volunteering efforts
DETERMINED not to become another statistic to stroke after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, Bob Carnaby has spent the past two years on a mission to help reduce the rate of stroke in his own backyard of the Northern Rivers.
The Grafton local’s efforts were recognised at the Stroke Foundation 2020 Stroke Awards last week when he was named a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year Award category.
Mr Carnaby said he joined Stroke Foundation’s StrokeSafe Speaker program in 2018 after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, otherwise known as Atrial Fibrillation (AF); a condition that can lead to strokes.
“When I realised there was a FAST (Face. Arms. Speech. Time.) program in place and a shortage of volunteers to deliver the stroke-safe message, I decided to join up to help others learn about what they could do to avoid stroke,” he said.
“During 2019 I presented talks to 26 workplaces and community groups, totalling 778 individuals, sharing information about how to recognise and prevent stroke. I wanted to do all I could to help others avoid stroke by encouraging them to understand their risk factors and make healthy lifestyle choices.”
There were around 840 strokes in the Cowper and Page electoral regions of NSW last year, making the Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast a ‘hot-spots’ for stroke.
“It’s devastating that stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer,” Mr Carnaby said.
“The outlook does not need to be this grim, and I can help change that. Eighty per cent of strokes are preventable and with the right treatment at the right time many people are able to make a full recovery.
“I feel a strong sense during and after each of my presentations that I have delivered the FAST message well. People are taking notice and asking questions. People are approaching me after my talks and asking more questions or sharing their stories, reinforcing why the FAST message is important. I know that I’m doing some good.”