Before your brother’s stroke did you have any idea that he was at any risk?
Not at all, in hindsight the signs were there though – he smoked, did not do exercise and had a poor diet.
When and how did you realise he had a stroke?
I was in London at the time, but his family around him suspected he was having a stroke. After his initial treatment he went to Monrovia for rehabilitation and was making some progress and returned home. After his return home he had a second stroke.
Can you tell us a little about your brother’s life before the stroke?
He was bubbly and he wanted to be involved in healthcare. He went to the local clinic and volunteered his time. He was a family man, he loved his family. He smoked a pipe and drank palm wine. He was the head of the family, but he didn’t look after himself. It’s ironic he was interested in the health of others but not his own.
How did life change for him and the people around him after his stroke?
His life really changed. When I first saw him the tears were just rolling down his face. His speech was affected. His role as head of the family was affected.
What steps do you take now to prevent stroke?
I have changed my lifestyle and diet since my brother’s stroke. I exercise more and I’ve cut down on fatty foods and salt.
What would you say to other people to make them take stroke prevention seriously?
Stroke is a silent killer. Look after your diet, cut down on alcohol. Do your medical checks and watch your weight. If you know the signs of a stroke death can be prevented. Make sure you check yourself.
What is your reason for preventing strokes?
I’ve seen the devastation that stroke can cause; how it destroys lives and families. I am a nurse, so I’ve seen what it can do.
I am also aware that I want to be there for my children and my family. I’ve seen the scale of stroke incidence in Liberia. I hear so much from people that someone they know has had a stroke. People can learn from a good prevention awareness programme.