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FAST thinking is a lifesaver

Wednesday, 5th February, 2020

June Marie Bennett with the bookmark that helped save her life. PICTURE: Emily McInerney June Marie Bennett with the bookmark that helped save her life. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

A bookmark about stroke has helped a local woman recognise the illness in herself.

June-Marie Bennett was having an off day in December last year and thought it may have been just due to the heat.

“It was a hot day, it was just before Carols by Candlelight,” said June who played “Shirl” in the movie “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert”.

“I sat down to write my grandson a Christmas card but I couldn’t think of the right words, which is not a problem for me.

“I sat there struggling and I thought; ‘Why can’t I think of what I want to say?’

“My husband came out to speak to me and I asked if my speech sounded strange?

“He said; ‘Your words sound slurred, you must be tired’.”

June said she was feeling very unwell all afternoon and thought it would be best not to go out that night.

“I felt really off. I looked in the mirror and saw my mouth was all twisted; my face had drooped.”

It was then that June remembered an old book mark that she keeps in her purse.

“I remember reading it and it was the signs to recognise if you are having a stroke (“Face. Arms. Speech. Time”).

“My speech was the first to go and then my face.”

June and her husband quickly called an ambulance and they rushed her to hospital.

“They worked on me straight away.”

A brain scan revealed a blood clot had moved and caused the stroke.

“The staff at the hospital did all sorts of tests on me,” June said.

“Then they put me in and conducted further tests.

“I’m really grateful for the FAST information. That saved me.”

She said she was feeling a lot better now and had to take care of herself.

“Everyone says I need to slow down, but I’m not ready to slow down. I just have to be aware of my limitations.

“I’m very grateful and fortunate to have survived.

“I’m thankful it didn’t affect me too much.

“There are so many people whose lives have changed for the worst.

“The hospital really looked after me. They were wonderful.

“I was seen by speech therapists, physiotherapists and a dietitian.”

June said she hoped the stroke awareness information helped someone else in the future.

(For more information visit the Stroke Foundation website).

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