In a celebration of life
> Nasam is organising the first Stroke Games for survivors and their family and friends on March 4 next year
IT ISN’T uncommon these days to know of someone who has suffered and is recovering from a stroke or has lost a loved one due to this disease. According to statistics, stroke is one of the top five causes of death and top 10 causes of hospitalisation here in Malaysia and globally.
Stroke survivors and their caregivers usually face a steep uphill battle, as survivors are highly likely to go through periods of depression and some may even end up having suicidal thoughts as they often feel afraid, frustrated and helpless.
This was how Janet Yeo felt when she suffered a stroke 26 years ago, at the age of 44.
For this founder chairman of the National Stroke Association of Malaysia (Nasam), she managed to overcome the challenges of the disease with the support of her loving family and friends.
Now, she can proudly say she has “lived a stroke” and wants to share with the world that “there is life after stroke”.
That is why she came up with the idea of organising the very first Stroke Games in conjunction with Nasam’s 20th anniversary celebration.
This special event will be held on March 4, next year, at the Panasonic National Sports Complex in Shah Alam.
Some 800 stroke survivors, family and friends from Nasam’s nine clubs nationwide are expected to come together for a day of activities to raise the spirits of stroke survivors.
“The Stroke Games is born out of the belief that sport and playing games heals the brain,” said Yeo at a recent event to unveil the Games logo.
“It will provide a platform for stroke survivors to overcome challenges and inspire them to compete with one another in a spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie.
“After a stroke, appropriate and aggressive rehabilitation is crucial. Participating in a sport or games not only provides physical benefits but also contributes to improving cognition, body awareness and spatial orientation.
“In addition to the therapeutic benefits, playing games provide stress relief, builds team spirit and improves social skills.”
Also present at the event was Nasam patron Toh Puan Aishah Ong, who had experienced firsthand the trials of caring for her late husband, a stroke victim.
She said: “The Stroke Games is a testament [to our statement] that there is ‘life after stroke’ [and for] stroke survivors … to demonstrate their faith in themselves, their inner strength and amazing abilities.
“Ultimately, we are celebrating the achievements stroke survivors make on the road to recovery – the outstanding courageous steps they have taken in rebuilding their lives [for] a brighter tomorrow.”
Survivors participating in the Stroke Games will take part in 34 sporting activities – eight individual and 26 group challenges, which include table tennis, darts, bowling, carom, obstacle walk, baton relay and basketball.
These sporting activities have been carefully selected and modified by Nasam’s Rehab Training and Development head Qamer Iqbal Khan to be safe and stress-free for the participants.
Qamer added: “The degree of modification is based on the severity and impact of the stroke.
“For example, basketball and darts will be played standing as well as sitting on a chair. So whether you are in a wheelchair or walking independently, the experience will definitely be enjoyable, fun and, at the same time, aid recovery.”
Nasam is now looking for volunteers and sponsors to help with the Games.
The association welcomes cash or kind such as free hotel accommodation or transportation for participants and their caregivers as well as donations of T-shirts and trophies.
For more, visit the Nasam website.
(left) Yeo (left) and Ong with the Games logo.
(clockwise, from above) Some of the sporting activities planned for the Games.
(right) Stereognosis activities to rehabilitate survivors’ sense of touch.