ONE big goal for Janet Kennedy is to watch her beloved Western Bulldogs from the outer once more.
It has been more than nine years since Ms Kennedy felt her legs become heavy while out walking on a holiday on the New South Wales South Coast. Within minutes Ms Kennedy's speech was babbled and she could not write her name on a piece of paper.
Ms Kennedy is still feeling the lingering effects of a stroke, like getting to an AFL game - something she used to do all the time as a Bulldogs' member.
Well-versed in speaking to community groups and workplaces as a Stroke Foundation StrokeSafe ambassador, Ms Kennedy remains determined to ensure people of all ages are aware of the risks and how to respond to symptoms.
Ms Kennedy had her stroke incident at 42 years old. She did not smoke and barely drank alcohol - two of the major stroke risks.
She urged people to consciously make healthier choices, particularly exercise.
"Go to the doctor twice a year, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, get out and walk when you can. Do something," Ms Kennedy said. "There are all these minutes you can use to be stretching. It all helps."
It took Ms Kennedy two to three years of speech therapy to learn how to talk again, starting from scratch. Speaking before groups tests her confidence, but Ms Kennedy was passionate to help prevent others going through what she has endure.
A stroke has left Ms Kennedy unable to return to work as an English and drama teacher. Her love of reading has become a gruelling exercise in struggling to read more than a few paragraphs at a time.
Ms Kennedy walks with a support brace but relishes travelling as much as possible, to England and Honolulu, not knowing how long her legs might hold up.
Stroke Foundation estimates 376 strokes will occur in Ballarat this year.
FAST is the easy way to recognise and remember the signs of stroke: Face drooping; Arms (or legs), in checking can they lift them; Speech, slurred or can they understand you; and, Time critical.
Stroke Foundation encourages community groups to book a StrokeSafe talk with an speaker like Ms Kennedy, of lived experience, to promote stroke prevention.
A stroke happens when blood supply to the brain is interrupted usually when an artery is blocked or bursts.
Every 10 minutes one Australian will have a stroke. Lifestyle risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, alcohol or being overweight or obese.
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