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'Stroke Park' at Britomart sends serious message

'Stroke Park' at Britomart sends serious message
Stroke Foundation, 6 September 2010
People passing through Britomart this week will get a very real reminder of the impacts of a stroke.

Auckland artist Mandalina Stanisich, who has seen four close members of her family affected by stroke, has created ‘Stroke Park’.

Set up on the middle level of Britomart, the six by four metre park includes:

• a large clock with two red hands stuck on 12, representing a blood clot forming
• bathroom plungers arranged from large to small to signify the lack of blood flow to the brain
• a male mannequin suffering from weakness on one side of his body – chicken wire restricts his movement
• a female mannequin unable to coordinate her movements – a spilled coffee lies at her feet
• an older male mannequin who has lost the sight in one eye – the newspaper he is holding is blank on one side.
Mandalina says the park represents what happens when someone suffers a stroke.

“A stroke happens when a part of the brain is affected by lack of blood. The people in the park have all suffered from a stroke.

“Dan, the young man, has lost the use of one side of his body. Molly has lost the capacity to coordinate her movements. Arthur loved to read. Now he can only see half the page as his vision has been affected.”

Mandalina says having experienced the tragedy of stroke in her own family, she wanted to use her talents as an artist to help promote Stroke Awareness Week.

“I would like to save other families from going through the anguish we have.

“The message of Stroke Awareness Week is to act fast if you show any symptoms of a stroke. Those symptoms may include one side of your face drooping, one side of the body being weak, having difficulty speaking or speech being jumbled or slurred.

“If you show any of these symptoms, ring 111 immediately.”

She says donations and sponsorship have contributed to the cost of constructing the park, and she has made up the shortfall.

Stroke Awareness Week runs from 6 to 12 September, and promotes the act FAST message.

The FAST acronym stands for:
Face – has it drooped?
Arm – is one arm weaker?
Speech – is it slurred, jumbled?
Time – time to act fast.
If you have any of these symptoms, call 111 immediately. The sooner you get to hospital, the more chance there is of breaking down the clot that has gone to your brain and caused a stroke, minimising the damage caused.
Stroke facts and figures
• Stroke is the third largest killer in New Zealand after heart disease and cancer.
• Each year, about 2000 people die from stroke
• Disabilities from stroke make it one of the highest consumers of hospital beds, services and community support in this country.
• There are an estimated 45,000 stroke survivors in New Zealand, many of whom have disability and need significant daily support.
• A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain, causing brain cell damage. Basically, it is a brain attack.
Recognising stroke symptoms
• Delayed recognition of a stroke means delayed medical intervention – which can have tragic consequences, including further damage to the brain or death.
• In 2007 and 2010, the Stroke Foundation commissioned Colmar Brunton to assess the general public’s ability to recognise the signs of stroke and to act appropriately if a stroke is suspected.
• The results from both surveys showed that at least one third of New Zealanders were unable to recognise even one sign of stroke.
• Furthermore, only about 12 percent of respondents could recognise three correct signs of stroke.
The FAST acronym was developed by stroke researchers in the United States as an effective way for people to recognise three key stroke symptoms and to act fast if a stroke is suspected. Subsequent evaluation of the FAST message by researchers in the US found it sufficient to pick up 88.9 percent of strokes and TIAs (mini strokes).

Other international evaluations of FAST have found that it is an effective mnemonic for increasing and retaining knowledge of the key signs of stroke and the importance of acting fast.
For more information on stroke see

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