Stroke supporters around the world - Janet E. Marshman

The World Stroke Organisation is committed to develop more Stroke Support Organizations (SSOs) and stroke support activities around the world. Supportive activity can include information and advice, peer support, family counselling, rehabilitation therapy or welfare services. We want to promote this invaluable activity as much as we can. If you would like to share your stories of stroke support please contact

Janet E. Marshman RN, Stroke Coordinator, Virginia USA

What has inspired you to be involved in stroke support/stroke awareness?
      Nursing, is a profession of diversity. You may not think about it in this way, but it provides many adventures in healthcare. That is how I got involved with stroke support. I initially was hired as a nurse to do data abstraction for stroke measures, and two weeks after I was in this role, my hospital asked me to lead the project of primary stroke certification. Part of these responsibilities included community stroke awareness and education.

      How did the project come about?
      I have always had an interest in integration of arts with healing. I asked myself, “How can I create a profound community experience integrating art, stroke survivors and their care partner?” Being that I am an artist myself, I had connections with artists. What if I had artists have a conversation with stroke survivors and their care partners about what it is like to live with a stroke and then the artist would create an art piece from that conversation? So I invited artists and stroke survivors to be part of the project, curating two shows with artworks completed by the artist’s interpreting  living with stroke.

      What does stroke support look like in your country? 
      The American Stroke Association and the National Stroke Association are the foundation for professionals and those who have experienced stroke. Comprehensive Stroke Centers and Primary Stroke Centers are key to the stroke care provided in the United States. This project was recognized by the American Stroke Association.

      What have been the highs so far for your project?
      As part of this project I wanted to engage individuals that had lived with stroke a long time and recent strokes. One caregiver shared, “I have been waiting 40 years to tell my story.” At the end of the project when she was picking up the art piece that the artist had given her, she said, “You have no idea how much healing has taken place for me and my family as a result of this project.”

      What have been some of the outcomes of the projects?
      Because this was a different way to create stroke awareness, it provided a new platform to educate the community about stroke. Healing for our stroke community was center stage. It was a format of stroke education and visual experience having a long term impact in the community.

      What has been the feedback from stroke survivors to the project?
      The quote above says it all.

      What has been the response from others – community, doctors, politicians?
      The community embraced this project. I worked with two art galleries in the community to create the shows of 25 artists, which included water color, acrylic paintings, ceramic pieces, mixed media pieces, photography, poet, writer, paper art/Scherenschnitte and charcoal drawing. Some of the works were created by artists who were stroke survivors and who wanted to create an art piece for the show. The stroke survivors and care partners found new friends in the artists, and the artists loved doing something they had never done before. It was a new and novel approach to creating art.

Stroke supporters around the world - Janet E. Marshman Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 Rating: 5

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