Don’t die of ignorance, urges stroke campaign

If you or a family member were having a stroke, would you know it?

That is the question the Irish Heart Foundation is asking during its annual Act FAST awareness week and the national stroke and heart charity says it is still crucial to ensure people know the signs of stroke.

Nearly 10,000 people suffer a stroke in Ireland annually according to the IHF, but only half of the population would call 999.

FAST stands for:

  • Face — has their face fallen on one side?
  • Arms — can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech — is their speech slurred?
  • Time — time to call 999 if you see any of these signs.

Supporting the charity’s efforts to spread the FAST message, Fair City actor Jim Bartley said: “Everyone — children and adults — needs to know the Irish Heart Foundation’s FAST message and most importantly, T — Time To Call 999 at the first sign of stroke.”

Jim, who plays Bela Doyle in the TV soap, knows all about the real thing, having suffered a stroke in 2011.

In 2012, for his courage in sharing his story and advocating the FAST message, Jim was awarded the IHF stroke ambassador award and has remained a keen ambassador for the charity since.

“I’ve had first-hand experience of stroke and I can tell you, I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. When it did, it came out of nowhere. A stroke happens so quickly. I am one of the lucky ones who got to hospital for treatment immediately.

“In today’s world, everyone has a mobile phone, even children, and we need to call 999 as soon as we suspect stroke. It could save the life of someone you know.”

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