Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The importance of building alliances to develop stroke support in Mexico

Sandra Rosellini Ochoa from World Stroke Organization SSO member, Asociación Nacional Contra el Infarto Cerebral, A.C. (ANCIC), talks about her experience of stroke and setting up an organisation.

I was inspired to get involved in stroke support because I had a massive stroke. Stroke
support in Mexico is very weak, with very little information. As a stroke survivor I realized that no one was talking about stroke, so my husband and I started a fund to see if we could get enough money to start an association. It took us many years of personal savings and investigation before we could begin the association.

The outcome today is that we have an association legally recognized by the Mexican Government as a nonprofit association that benefits all Mexicans. We sustain our project ANCIC through our personal financial commitment as it is so important for our fellow Mexicans. Stroke survivors and their families have been very grateful for the information we can provide at their moment of crisis, as well as preventive written material and our website. As a stroke survivor I know that you do not necessarily understand the gravity of what you just experienced and your family is devastated.

We first approached doctors, and what we found is they have no money, so we went to the medical associations, and they have no money. We went to the government and they have no money. The way forward was an alliance with the National Stroke Association in the USA. There we found a support through a joint alliance because they had very little material in Spanish. We chose 16 pieces of their information to translate, taking in the consideration which themes were the most relevant in Mexico. We presented our written material to the Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía in Mexico, which approved the translation.

Later on we approached Fundación Carlos Slim de la Salud, as they did not have information about stroke, so now we also have an alliance with them. Now that we have published materials for doctors, survivors, medical community and their families, they have all been very grateful and we hope that turns into future donations to keep our work up to date.

My husband, my five daughters and my friends have helped in my recovery. They did not understand what a stroke was and their fear kept some of them from investigating how to reduce their possibility of a stroke. During my time in hospital a member of my family was with me every single day. All of my friends were told to write letters, cards and send pictures so I could remember my past life. I received flowers gifts and calls, I was never forgotten and I have still have all those cards and letters from 22 years ago. They kept me focussed on starting an association.

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