In 2017, Hilary Wehby, a stroke survivor from Jamaica, approached the World Stroke Organization about her desire to establish a stroke foundation to support and educate stroke survivors in her country. Two years on, the Stroke Foundation of Jamaica has become a new member of WSO and Hilary is about to launch her book, My New Normal: Reflections of a Stroke Survivor.
Before her stroke in 2015, Hilary lived a very full and active life; a mother of three children and married for nearly 30 years to a very busy husband. She was involved in a Christian Women's Ministry, and working full time as a senior new product development manager at a fast-paced food company. Life changed dramatically for Hilary when she had her stroke; she was no longer able to work at the place she had been employed for 31 years. Her life began to revolve around her therapy schedule and her family. She was not able to drive and had to depend on others to get around.
Hilary began her journey to a new normal with the belief that her connections in Jamaica with doctors, nursing and counselling networks, Christian ministry and the business community locally, would be useful in her mission to support and educate stroke survivors. ‘I am excited at the prospect of contributing to making education and assistance more widely accessible’ says Hilary.
Hilary has through the years, balanced being a devoted wife and mother, with outstanding scholastic achievement, professional service and social outreach. Describing her “pre-stroke” self, as being “a busybody-always-on-the-go- miss diligent-thorough-always-on-top-of-things person”, she now embrace her “new normal” as enabling and empowering her.
Hilary employed her always on the go attitude and connections across various networks, to build the new stroke support organization in Jamaica. The Stroke Foundation of Jamaica’s goals are to reduce the burden of stroke to patients, caregivers and the country through prevention, treatment and long-term care, and support stroke survivors to achieve the highest possible quality of independent life. The foundation is at the beginning of its work and is currently exploring collaborations with a range of stakeholders in Jamaica.
Hilary’s book, My New Normal: Reflections of a Stroke Survivor, will be launched at an event in Kingston, Jamaica on March 7, 2019.