Jennifer Monaghan felt that her active life as a mother and volunteer was over when she suffered a stroke in April 2012 that initially left her paralyzed on her right side.
But within a few months she was back carpooling and doing pilates twice a week.
At only 43 years of age, Monoghan never even considered that her health would take this kind of turn.
After intensive speech therapy and hard physical work, she persevered to the point where she will be helping a group of other stroke survivors through their journey.
Now, stroke survivors have a new tool for help and hope: the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Living with Stroke program, designed to help stroke survivors and their families improve their quality of life, cope with challenges and connect with others.
“I felt really lost after I got out of the hospital. The doctors sent me on my way and I had no one to turn to for support other than my family because there certainly wasn’t anyone in my circle of friends who had gone through a stroke,” Monoghan said.
“That is why I jumped on board with the Living With Stroke program. It will give survivors a chance to connect with people who know what they are going through.”
Lead by volunteer facilitators like Monoghan and provided free in several B.C. communities, the program is comprised of eight weekly, two-hour sessions. Weekly topics include impact of stroke, physical changes and keeping active; dealing with emotions and relationships; reducing future risk and nutrition.
All stroke survivors and their families are welcome to join. The next Living With Stroke program starts Sept. 16 on Tuesdays, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the downtown Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library, 1380 Ellis St.
The registration for this program is almost full but if necessary a waitlist will be started for the next session starting in January. For more information about the program registration status or to sign up, call 1-888-473-4636.
For more information on stroke recovery resources or the program, see heartandstroke.bc.ca/livingwithstroke.