NATION

Stroke Survivor On Mission To Help Others With Challenges

Ms Vakalagilagi, 72, shared her story during the World Stroke Day celebration on Thursday at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Her mission is to give hope to someone who is going through the same challenges she faced and to give back to the many people who helped her and the family throughout her journey.
26 Oct 2019 13:56
Stroke Survivor On Mission To Help Others With Challenges
Stroke survivor Mary Lockington Vakalagilagi with Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete during the World Stroke Day celebration at Colonial War Memorial Hospital on October 24, 2019. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Giving hope to someone facing the challenges of being a stroke patient is all that Mary Lockington Vakalagilagi intends to do now.

Ms Vakalagilagi, 72, shared her story during the World Stroke Day celebration on Thursday at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Her mission is to give hope to someone who is going through the same challenges she faced and to give back to the many people who helped her and the family throughout her journey.

She said: “Accepting my situation was the first step towards my recovery.

“The rest were relied on commitment to follow such as medications, diet and exercise. My recovery process was not an easy task, but I did it with the help and encouragement of my family.

“They (my family) gave me all the moral support and love that was needed for my recovery. And I thank God for my recovery because now I can do anything.”

Ms Vakalagilagi highlighted that stroke recovery was a lifelong process.

“It is up to the person to determine how far their life will go and how fast their recovery will be. It is all a great deal of patience, perseverance and survival.”

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After suffering two strokes in 2007 and 2010, Ms Vakalagilagi’s mouth and the left side of her body were affected.

At one stage she lost hope because she was looking after six children when her husband died.

“I was under a lot of stress, which led to stroke. I had to pull myself together and think about what I was going to do,” Ms Vakalagilagi said.

“The doctor said I was under a lot of stress and I had to change my lifestyle to change my situation.

She was advised to eat healthy, lose weight, not isolate herself and to get involved in physical activities.

“He also told me to not worry about things that I could not do anything about it, like bills.”

Chief guest and Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, believes stroke can be prevented, treated and rehabilitated.

He said stroke could affect anyone and it had no respect for race, religion, age and ethnicity and it had been rising for the last 40 years.

As the festive season approaches, the minister reminded members of the public about staying healthy.

“During this festive seasons there will be a lot of food on offer and I believe it’s important to understand that there is only so much food your body can take. At the end of the day we want to make sure that we are not vulnerable to NCDs,” he said.

Stroke survivor Mary Lockington Vakalagilagi (third from left) with Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete (second from right) and others mark World Stroke Day celebration at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital on October 24, 2019. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Stroke survivor Mary Lockington Vakalagilagi (third from left) with Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete (second from right) and others mark World Stroke Day celebration at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital on October 24, 2019. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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