New group offers hope and support to stroke survivors

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

A new group that will offer hope and support to stroke survivors in South Tipperary has been launched.

The Clonmel Stroke Support Group will be based at Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel until permanent accommodation is provided at the new community centre that’s currently under construction at St. Oliver’s in Clonmel.

The voluntary group is the brainchild of Gemma Dunn and Sandra Hickey, two nurses at South Tipperary General Hospital.

Gemma Dunn told last week’s launch in Cashel that they decided to establish the group when the family of a stroke patient asked about support in the community. She said that the group, which has been launched in collaboration with the Irish Heart Foundation, would offer support, advice and direction to patients, their families and the carers of stroke victims.

“It will help prevent survivors from feeling alone and isolated as they will be in touch with others who are in the same situation. It will be an outlet for stroke survivors after hospital”, she said.

She added that it would have all of the resources of South Tipperary General Hospital at its fingertips including speech and language therapists, dieticians, physiotherapists and psychotherapists.

Sandra Hickey stated that one-to-one direction would also be provided for any stroke survivor who had difficulty coping.

One person who will benefit from the group is John Hickey from Chancellorstown, Clonmel, who has survived two strokes. He told the launch that if he hadn’t received all the attention and care from the dedicated staff at South Tipp General Hospital and the rehabilitation unit at St. Patrick’s Hospital he wouldn’t be here.

He spoke about his ordeal, and while he walked with the aid of a mobility frame and had a lot of hard work ahead of him he was pleased he was going so well.

The group has also been endorsed by Aisling Brophy, a physiotherapist at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Cashel, who described it as a fantastic idea.

Stroke is a chronic condition, an illness that affects survivors, carers and all family members. Between 160 and 200 new victims are treated every year at South Tipp General Hospital. Fifty of these cases are TIAs (Transient Ischaemic Attacks), or mini strokes, which are warning signs.

For anyone who has the misfortune to suffer a stroke, time is of the essence in their treatment. The importance of getting victims to hospital as quickly as possible cannot be overstated. Stroke symptoms include changes to a person’s face, as well as their ability to speak and to raise their arms.

Anyone who wishes to find out more about the Clonmel Stroke Support Group may contact Gemma Dunn at e-mail,

Until the end of the year the group will meet once a month at Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel on Monday, October 3rd; Tuesday, November 1st and Tuesday, December 6th, with all meetings taking place at 6pm.