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Strokes don’t stop because of coronavirus

Stroke survivor Debbie and son Finlay urge people to call 999 FAST in the event of a stroke

One stroke survivor is appealing for people to act FAST and call 999 if they think they’re having a stroke.

Debbie, 44 from Comrie, has joined forces with us to remind people that stroke is a medical emergency and that people still need to seek medical attention if they think they’re having a stroke.

The call comes following interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gregor Smith’s statement that some hospital wards are “eerily quiet” amid the coronavirus outbreak.

We are concerned that people are putting off going to hospital because of the virus and don’t want to be a burden on the NHS.

Act FAST and save a life

Strokes can happen any time and anywhere. By the end of today, 25 people across Scotland will have suffered a stroke. The same will happen tomorrow.

Coronavirus is at the forefront of our minds right now, but it’s important not to forget that these life-changing events will continue to happen every single day.

Please don’t delay calling for help if you think you, or someone you love, is having a stroke. Remember to act FAST and call 999 as soon as you experience any one of the symptoms.

FAST is a simple acronym to remind people of the key signs of stroke:

  • Face – Can they smile? Does one side droop?
  • Arm – Can they lift both arms? Is one weak?
  • Speech – Is their speech slurred or muddled?
  • Time – Time to call 999.

If you experience any one of these signs or symptoms, please call 999 immediately. Acting quickly and getting someone the help they need as soon as possible can significantly improve their recovery.

Stroke survivor Debbie knows the importance of acting FAST

When Debbie had her stroke, her life changed forever. But thanks to quick thinking by her family, she was able to get help right away – and has made an amazing recovery.

FAST - signs of a stroke

“If my husband hadn’t called 999 so quickly and I hadn’t gone to hospital straight away, I can’t bear to think about what position I would find myself in today,” says Debbie.

“It’s been 4 years since I had my stroke and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I’m just so thankful that my family were able to get me the help I so desperately needed.

“FAST has become really important to my family. My son, Finlay, got such a fright seeing me after my stroke that he decided spread the FAST message to local school children. Finlay feels that it’s especially important for children to learn the message so that that they know what to do if they find themselves alone with a parent or grandparent who might be experiencing a stroke.

“Hearing that people might not be seeking emergency help is terrifying, it’s more important now than ever to make sure people know to think FAST and call 999 if you think you’re having a stroke.”

For more information about stroke, including where to find help and how to manage your condition, please visit

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

Your donation can help people do more than just survive – you can help them really live.


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