The Stroke Foundation highlights the difficulties faced by survivors of strokes. They have called attention to the plight of stroke survivors citing the example of Yvonne Moore, 57 who died at a Titahi Bay address just before 1am on Saturday when her house caught fire.
Stroke Foundation chief executive Mark Vivian said he was appalled at levels of support for those suffering disabilities following strokes. "In the central region, the only financial help we get from the district health boards is a total of $40,700 a year for information services."
The next week is the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand's annual appeal week. Gisborne man, John Heikell is one man who has reason to appreciate their work.
Recalling the day he had a stroke Heikell said, "It blew me apart overnight."
"I couldn't talk, I knew what was going on, but I couldn't get the words out. I couldn't even say my wife or kids' names."
That happened 16 years ago.
Today Mr Heikell is back writing about his much-beloved rugby. But things were not that easy in the beginning
When Mr Heikell first got back on the computer to write all that came out was 'a lot of jumble'. He said, 'That was the biggest blow out.
But gradually he started to break words down and although frustrating at times, he persisted and gradually his commentary of rugby games came back.
He said, "I could tell you all about rugby games, but when it came to quotes or songs the words just didn't seem to stick."
Although things got easier gradually he said there were still a lot of things he could not express. "A lot of words don't come out the way I want. But I've learned to accept that."
Mr Heikell said that his message for this stroke appeal week, it would be this:
"People who have had a stroke are still normal inside. Their brains are still operating."
It is for that reason he wants people to start treating them like normal people.
"For some it is like being stuck in a prison and a lot of them feel embarrassed to go out."
Mr Heikell praised the Gisborne Stroke Foundation saying that it was doing a great job and said everyone in Gisborne should get behind them during the appeal week.
"Strokes are one of the blights of society. I don't think people realize how much a stroke can affect a family."
Last year the foundation had over 300 visits from people in Gisborne. "This really is a huge illness that a lot of people aren't really aware of."