Former paramedic’s education mission

Former paramedic’s education mission

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Seventy-seven-year-old Leesa Barnard wants to reduce the rate of strokes in the community. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

Although Leesa Barnard has never had a stroke, the former paramedic said she felt the need to teach people how to help someone who is having a stroke.

When someone has a stroke there is a sudden interruption of blood supply to the brain which alters body functions and causes severe trauma if not treated immediately.

The 77-year-old has been a speaker for more than six years and after volunteering at the Cancer Council of Western Australia, she then decided to join the Stroke Foundation and continue her legacy.

“Currently I have a friend who was travelling somewhere and had a stroke that has left him in hospital and it has affected his walking,” she said.

“This affects so many people in different ways and although I haven’t gone through it, it is really important to get the word out there.

“Sadly anyone can have a stroke, a new born baby can have a stroke, a 30-year-old
man can have a stroke so it is important to be able to respond.”

Ms Barnard is usually sent to different areas in Canning, Gosnells and other south-eastern suburbs where the senior population is higher, which makes it important for her to build these talks in the best way possible.

“When I talk to them, I am not making them afraid, I am giving them information so they can help somebody else,”she said.

“Not long ago I did a talk and someone rang me up and said I helped them and saved
somebody’s life.

“I previously told them what to look for in case of a stroke and they were sitting with this person when they noticed something was different, so they rang triple zero and saved their life, so that’s what it is for me.

“It makes you feel good, anybody can do a talk, I am not special but I was a paramedic before and a funeral director so you see people’s pain and it just makes you want to help.”

For more information about strokes or contact a stroke speaker call 1300 194 196.