Newham Stroke Club founder urges FAST response

Abdul Shakoor (front, kneeling) helped to create the Newham Stroke Club at the Katherine Road Commun

Abdul Shakoor (front, kneeling) helped to create the Newham Stroke Club at the Katherine Road Community Centre - Credit: Archant

Every year, 110,000 people suffer a stroke – and people of south Asian descent are around twice as likely to be among the victims.

That’s why health organisations and Newham victims are uniting to ensure people from all communities are aware of the symptoms.

The focus of the campaign by the Stroke Association and Public Health England is the acronym FAST – which stands for Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems and Time to call 999 – and describes the signs associated with suffering a stroke and what should be done about it.

“Acting FAST can help reduce the devastating impact a stroke can have,” said Jon Barrick, chief executive of the Stroke Association. “We know that, sadly, far too many people dismiss the early warning signs of stroke and delay calling 999.

“We need to act FAST because time lost is brain lost.”

Stroke survivor, Abdul Shakoor, of Green Street, is keen to do all he can to persuade Newham residents to be stroke-aware.

“One day you’re working and living normally, the next day you lose everything,” the 68-year-old former councillor and City finance worker said. “I felt a bit drowsy, a bit under the weather. My colleagues told me to go home but I was too stubborn – then they took my car keys from me and drove me to the hospital.

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“When I woke I couldn’t walk or talk – it took me years to get even the basics back.

“I wish I had been sensible and got my blood pressure checked, looked after my health more – I hadn’t been to the GP in eight years.”

Abdul, who founded Newham Stroke Club after his recovery, was most affected by what happened in his family life.

“My daughter was 10 when I had a stroke,” he said. “I would try to help her with homework but in the end it was her teaching me how to say my ABC.

“She had to grow up quickly – she lost a lot of years. She had a father as a burden. The whole family was affected.

“I don’t want to see anyone else go through this.”

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