A support group for stroke survivors in Adelaide’s northern suburbs is going ‘gangbusters’ after its formation last year.
Facilitated by The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Stroke, the Northern Stroke Support Group was established in August and has gone from strength to strength.
Lead by stroke survivor Paul Bovington, the group provides a safe space for those in their recovery journey.
Hailing from the north, Paul said there was not a lot of resources for stroke survivors out that way, so he took it upon himself to get something up and running.
“What I do with my volunteering is when I talk to people within Modbury Hospital and that area, I say ‘look, when you finish rehab, we’re here for you’, and that list is getting bigger and bigger,” he said.
The group is open to family members and caregivers as well, providing a forum for them to learn more about stroke.
Paul brings lived experience to the group.
While taking part in his local parkrun in December 2018, an arteriovenous malformation in his brain ruptured and triggered a stroke.
Paul had to learn to walk and talk again after experiencing a three-week induced coma, swelling and bleeding on the brain, and two rounds of emergency surgery.
Five years after completing his rehab, he decided to give back.
Paul helped establish our Men’s Stroke Support Group in 2022 after joining THRF – Stroke two years earlier as a volunteer.
The group meets at THRFG – Stroke’s Unley office on the third Tuesday of the month, from 11.30am to 12.30pm, and is also growing in popularity each month.
He said both groups were about providing support in what can be trying times.
“I preach this a lot when I talk to people that these groups and what we do with The Hospital Research Foundation, we support each other, we’re family now,” Paul said.
“We get through it together. When the chips are down, we raise each other up and we celebrate the wins and we commiserate the tough stuff.
“I’m very passionate, excited about what we’re doing, because I can see the change we’re making.”
As well as running the two support groups, Paul also volunteers on the stroke ward at Modbury Hospital and Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre and is a member of THRFG – Stroke’s Advisory Board.
The Northern Stroke Support Group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Tea Tree Gully Library, from 11.30am to 1pm.