Happy New ‘Stroke’ Year

2017 is here! Tomorrow will already be the month of February, so I thought it about time that I wished all my followers a Happy New ‘Stroke’ Year. My last blog was October 2016 and the lack of posting was due to being busy and illness and fatigue towards the latter part of last year. I had a very busy 2016 and I needed rest to regain my health and fitness.IMG_0278

Saying that, after a superb Christmas, we sailed on the ‘Ovation of the Seas’ to New Zealand where I had a wonderful relaxing time with my family and lots of friends. We enjoyed the New Year at sea and upon our return, I spent some valuable, quality time with my 15 year old son Patrick (photo taken on one of our stops in NZ). I can honestly say that I am now raring to go (perhaps at a slower pace than last year!) for what I am certain will be an interesting and successful 2017.

The last major event of last year was the Pop up Book Shop, co-organised with my good friend Mary Barber, Tamarind Book Club. It was held at Caloundra Power Boat Club, on 6 November 2016, and we hosted 32 self published author tables. There was excellent feedback from those that attended in addition to our wonderful local authors who had the opportunity to sell their books.

Joan BenbowThis photo is of myself at the Pop up Book shop and the delightful, sprightly author, Joan Benbow, who was our oldest author at the event. I have provisionally booked an ‘Author Talk’ at the residential complex where Joan resides and very much look forward to meeting her and her friends once again. Although the Pop up Book Shop was a tremendous success, not only for the authors, but for the local community, it was immensely time consuming and we have decided that we will not host another Pop up Book Shop this year.  I have recently created a Facebook group; Self-Published Authors, Sunshine Coast which I hope will bring together current self-published authors who reside on the Sunshine Coast, and also welcome new authors, where we can share our successes, our events and other helpful advice to help us in our writing journeys. If you are a Sunshine Coast self-published author, please ask to join our group. I may be involved in other Pop up Book events on the Coast so please ‘Like’ my Facebook page to stay in touch with what’s happening this year.

During December last year, I visited Brisbane and undertook some ‘Stroke Safe’ training with the Stroke Foundation, but due to illness, I was unable to complete the course. In early February, I am delighted to say that I will be returning to Brisbane to complete the necessary training and then be a fully fledged Stroke Ambassador. This title will then qualify me to not only speak about my stroke, my book, A Stroke of Poetry but I will be delivering the ‘stroke safe’ message to community groups on the Sunshine Coast and further afield if required. This is a purely volunteer role and I am once again delighted to assist the Stroke Foundation in educating everyone about Stroke. If you would like me to visit your health organisation, stroke group, school or any association on the Sunshine Coast, please email me at shelagh@astrokeofpoetry.com.

Jo MaleChristina MI was thrilled with the results of the Christmas competition (and judging by the photos my recipients were thrilled too!) as two lovely, very worthy ladies, were the lucky winners of a signed copy of my book and a hand made Christmas card. Lovely Jo Male, who I recently got to know during 2016, whilst involved with the 2016 Vintage Calendar Girls Calendar and Christina Malfitana, one of my ‘on line’ stroke friends from Queensland were very happy when my book popped through their letterbox just before Christmas.

As always, I will continue with the marketing and sales of my book, which can be purchased on line, or at some local book stores on the Coast and I can still post out signed copies if required. Following the success of my Christmas Special last year, and as Easter eggs are already in the supermarkets, I am offering an Easter Special which includes a reduced price, signed and gift wrapped book and a hand made Easter card, so order early. Please hop onto my website for the various ways you can purchase a book.

As I sign off until next months blog, as always, please stay healthy and happy.

Much love

Shelagh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


October

October’s Stroke Roundup

October is the month of Halloween and often regarded as ‘Pinktober’ and dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Breast Cancer. I have managed to squeeze in three breast cancer events, Patrick’s 15th birthday party, strategy meetings for marketing my books, helped organise the Vintage Calendar Girls Gala Launch and progress the Pop up Book Shop event so I have been tremendously busy. I feel this October has also been filled with book sales and Stroke awareness and maybe I should refer to it as ‘Stroketober’ for me!

Queensland Mental Health Week ran from 9-15 October and I was invited by Cecelia Scahill, a Mental Health Recovery Nurse, to present at Caboolture Hospital. Caboolture HospitalThis was a lovely morning and I had a most receptive audience and spoke about how I used poetry and exercise to get me through my post-stroke depression. The positive feedback was tremendous and here is a photo of me being presented with some lovely flowers from Cecelia.

I am always keen to tell my story, raise awareness about stroke and help others with similar health issues and a few weeks ago, I was interviewed for the October edition of Profile Magazine. You can pick up a free copy of Profile Magazine at various cafes and retail outlets on the Sunshine Coast. It’s a two page article and you can read it here.

I mentioned last month that I was involved in raising awareness about Rare Cancer, through my involvement with the Vintage Calendar Girls 2017 Calendar. The Gala Launch was well attended at Old Petrie Town on 22 October. Caroline Hutchinson, 92.7 FM was MC for the evening and celebrity Barry Hall spent the evening signing the calendars, and brought along his delightful girlfriend Lauren Brant and posed for lots of photos. It was lovely to have my hair and makeup done and dress up for the event. VCG picHere is photo of me with Barry and my super friend Allison, who posed with us on the front page of the calendar. If you would like to purchase a calendar or follow the Vintage Calendar Girls and their plans for the 2018 Calendar…here is the link

Last week I visited Unity College and had the pleasure of chatting to Class 3.3 and their lovely teacher (Mrs Lennox), who also happens to be my good friend Majella. Each week, her class are taught issues about health and we decided it would be a great idea for me to speak with them and teach them the signs of stroke (FAST). They were very welcoming and they were all eager to learn and thankful for the goodies I gave out. I truly believe that you are never too young to learn about stroke or how to detect/prevent a stroke.Class 3.3

On Saturday 30 October, my good friends and trainers Melinda and Amy, MAB Personal Training and Adventures, organised a Boot Camp in recognition of World Stroke Day. It has been some time since I attended any boot camps and my aching body the following day was testament to the fact I dragged myself up and down those sand hills at Currimundi Lake! Thank you to everyone who came and supported this event and with $5 from everyone’s boot camp fee and donations, we raised $70. I will be sending this to the Stroke Foundation with my next payments from my book sales.

For several months now, my friend Mary, Tamarind Book Club, who helped my organise my own book launch last November, and I have been organising the first Pop up Book Shop to be held on the Sunshine Coast. It is to be held this Sunday, 6 November, at the Caloundra Power Boat Club and 30 authors will be hosting tables and showcasing and selling their books. We have a number of children’s authors who will be facilitating colouring tables and a ‘story corner’. Entry is with a  gold coin donation in support of the ‘Buy a Bale’ charity and you can read about the event here. I will be hosting a table and selling ‘A Stroke of Poetry’ for $20 but every purchase will include one of my hand made Christmas or Greetings card. A lot of work has gone into this event and runs from 10am – 1pm and there are so many beautiful books to be bought so come along with your Christmas list and I really hope to see you there.

That’s it for me for this month and as always, please stay healthy and happy.

Shelagh


Just keep swimming

The Rotary Club support ‘A Stroke of Poetry’

    “Inspiring”

                   “Motivating”

                                      “I was truly enthralled with your story”

                                                                                          “I love that you want to make a difference”

Inspiring 2These were all wonderful comments made to me after my stroke presentation to The Rotary Club of Caloundra last week.

For those of you that have met me or heard me talk, you will know that I LOVE to talk. I love to talk about anything and everything. Since my stroke, I am still troubled with ‘sensory overload’ and talking for too long, in busy, noisy places, with too many people and other such factors, affect my brain and give me headaches and bring on my fatigue. However, talking about my stroke, my book and presenting to groups of people who are interested in listening to my story, I seem to do OK and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

When I presented to my son’s school, as part of the Womens International Breakfast event in March this year, one mum, the lovely Julianna was so inspired by my stroke story, that she wanted me to present to her local Rotary Club at one of their weekly breakfast meetings. I was extremely honoured to do so, to a gathering of around 35 people who greeted me with such warmth and positivity.Rotary Club of Caloundra - With Chairman for the day

What a superb group of people who, themselves, inspire me with their motivation to do such good in our community. I sold ten books and although I donate $2 of all book sales to the Stroke Foundation, I matched that for the Rotary Club and they were certainly thrilled with that! This photo is of myself and Rotary Chairman for the day, Arnoldo Mendez, who gave me a very warm and kind introduction.

So…that takes me to this last week…following on from my presentation last week, I have been quite ill.

I do suffer with fatigue but having not been able to shift the horrid feeling of weakness, aching and lacking in energy, I decided to visit the Doctors who advised I may also have some sort of virus. Blood test results await! It made me seriously think about all the stroke survivors who suffer each and every day with chronic post stroke fatigue and are unable to function. I feel lucky enough to have only this temporary feeling but it was not until my friends watched a video that they truly understood how fatigue can be so disabling. The Stroke Foundation regularly publish literature and videos to assist those stroke survivors, carers, family and friends to help them understand about stroke. This video about fatigue hits the spot. Please take time to watch it and it may provide an insight into fatigue. As my ‘Dory’ featured image shows, we just have to keep ‘swimming’ when things just don;t go to plan.

What’s in store for the weeks ahead?….

Being nominated as a finalist in the Creative Stroke Category of the 2016 Stroke Foundation Awards means I have been invited to a gathering next week of the finalists from Queensland and hope to meet other such inspiring people who have made a difference to others. Also, as National Stroke Week beckons (12-18 September), I have my ‘Fight Stroke’ pack and I am planning book signings at local book stores, presentations and hope to raise awareness about stroke and health. October brings not only Breast Cancer month, but World Stroke Day is on 29 October and there may be a little something being planned for that. I shall keep you posted on events as they happen.

As always, please stay healthy and happy.

Shelagh


Happinness

I’m a 2016 Stroke Foundation finalist!

I truly believe that life is what you make it. Creating happiness in your life works both ways and if you live your life being happy, then you get happiness in return and shower happy thoughts on others. Well, that’s my simple philosophy anyway. Why am I talking about happiness in this blog? That’s because so many great things have happened to me in the past two weeks that I feel compelled to share my happiness with you all.

I was nominated for the 2016 Stroke Foundation Awards, in the creative category and have been listed as a finalist with some amazing people who have inspired me along my own stroke journey. Have a read about these inspiring stroke survivors and see what you think. The winner will be chosen this month but whatever the outcome, I feel a winner in every way at the moment.

Meeting new people and sharing my story where it has inspired them, makes me immensely happy. I now have the support from some local Medical Centres, here on the Sunshine Coast, who have stocked and are selling my books to patients. My heartfelt thanks go to Alive and Kicking Medical Practices who have four Medical Practices and are selling my books at their Brightwater and Parklands Practices. I have signed each book with an inspirational message, so if you live nearby, pop in and have a browse. Parklands sold one on the first day which was super news. I am also happy to say that my own practice, Golden Beach Medical Centre are selling my book and their August newsletter will feature a story about my stroke and my book.

3D cover high resI have always supported the local independent book stores and in addition to the support from The BookShop at Caloundra, I am happy to add, that Books of Buderim and Rosetta Books in Maleny are also supporting my business and A Stroke of Poetry is now available for purchase at these beautiful book stores. A book signing event is being planned at Rosetta Books in the coming weeks..further details to follow when confirmed.

I was lucky enough to conduct a recent interview with Profile Magazine which will feature in their October issue, focusing on health and well being, so needless to say I am very excited.

Young Stroke

Recently I met up with the Young Queensland Stroke Support Group, formed by Chris Kay (I can class myself as ‘young’ even though I am now 53!). They meet every 6 weeks or so here on the Sunshine Coast and discussions arose about strategies to cope with some areas of stroke recovery but we also laughed and joked about anything and everything. It was a fun meeting and looking forward to the next. This is a closed group but if you are a stroke survivor and fancy a catch up, just send a request to the Facebook group and look forward to seeing you there.

 


Thank you card

Thank you

I received a lovely ‘Thank you’ card in the mail this month, and a receipt and letter from CEO Sharon McGowan (which also happens to be my maiden name), thanking me for the $400 donation sent to them. It is a great feeling that, as a self published author, I have sold almost 200 books and can begin to donate $2 from each book sold to the Stroke Foundation. In her letter of thanks, Sharon McGowan pointed out, ‘a stroke occurs every ten minutes in Australia. It is the biggest cause of death and leading cause of disability, and the personal and social cost to the community is high’. The acknowledgement from Ms McGowan that donations enable the Stroke Foundation to reach more people in more communities across Australia – and save more lives – makes me happy that I can make a small contribution to this goal.

The BookShop

Whilst thanks are being mentioned, I would sincerely like to thank Graeme Bowden, owner of The BookShop at Caloundra who has supported, and continues to support, the self publication of my book A Stroke of Poetry,by selling my book in his lovely independent book shop; thereby helping me raise much needed funds for the Stroke Foundation.

THANK YOU Graeme for everything you do in support of all local authors like myself.

There are lots of things happening in the next few weeks…..further independent book stores across the Coast will be stocking my book, newspaper and magazine articles are being prepared for publication of my story and a ‘little birdie’ mentioned I have received nominations for the 2016 Stroke Foundation Creative Awards. I feel it is going to be an exciting time ahead.


News

A Stroke of Poetry update

It has been a month since I last shared my news, which doesn’t mean that I have been ‘resting on my laurels’ during that time! In this last month I have undertaken some library talks at Maroochydore and Caloundra Library. Both events were attended by a cross section of the local community who had suffered sLibrary talktroke, had limited knowledge of stroke and wanted to hear more; lovers of poetry and those who wanted to meet me because they were inspired by my book and my story. The feedback received was excellent and I was happy that I made the effort to share my story with others. If you missed these events, there was a great newspaper article published in the Sunshine Coast Daily last month.

As a result of a presentation I undertook as Pacific Lutheran College on International Womens Day this year, I have a further ‘booking’ from the local Rotary Club at one of their breakfast in August. I shall very much look forward to that and promises of other events are forthcoming. Happy days ahead!

I have also moved house and if anyone has ever moved from a large house to a much smaller home, you will understand the frustration of firstly, trying to make things fit. Secondly, deciding what to throw, sell and give away, but thirdly, realising that it a great cleansing process to be forced to start again. We are almost there, a few pictures to hang, and then it will be home.

In regard to my book, I was honoured to be invited for interview by Yenny Stromgren from Everyday Light Warriors. Yenny interviews a variety of people who she finds have an inspiring story to tell and produces a Blog and Podcast for all to read and listen. I was lucky enough to meet Yenny at one of the Sunshine Coast Womens Entrepreneurs Network events and  pleased to say that the Podcast of my interview is out on 20th June.We are both excited about this collaboration and looking forward to sharing it with you all.

The BookShopGraeme and Rosie at The BookShop at Caloundra have been huge supporters of my venture and continue to market my book and as such, the first consignment of A Stroke of Poetry is almost sold, bringing me close to 200 book sales since launch last October. That means my first donation of $400 to the Stroke Foundation is imminent. Whilst it’s raining, pop into The BookShop and see what Graeme has to offer.

During June and July I will be progressing links with the local Health communities and hope to secure some book displays in local clinics and Health Centres to encourage my book to be purchased and shared by those who need motivation and inspiration in their lives.

That’s all for now…so watch out for the Everyday Light Warriors podcast this coming Monday, 20 June.

Take care.

 

Shelagh


Meet the Author

I am grateful to the journalists I have had the great fortune to meet over recent months which has culminated in this fabulous article published in the Sunshine Coast Sunday magazine yesterday (15.5.16). Sunday newspaper article 15.5.15This story once again highlights, and reminds me, of the struggles I faced post stroke, and by overcoming them through poetry and exercise, I can now help and motivate others to do something positive with their lives. I love sharing my story, my poetry and meeting others who are happy to listen. Please come and meet me at any of the venues listed below and have an opportunity to purchase my book.

‘Meet the Author’ – Sunshine Coast Library Talks – A Stroke of Poetry

This is a free event and will entail an in depth presentation about my life, my stroke and my extremely heartfelt, emotional recovery back to better health. Books will be available for purchase on the day.

Tuesday 24 May – 10-11:30am – Maroochydore Library – Events Room – Space 45
Thursday 26 May – 5-6:30pm – Nambour Library – Upstairs room – Space 45
Saturday 28 May – 10-11:30am – Caloundra Library – Events area – Space 45
Monday 6 June – 12:30-2pm – Kawana Libary – Meeting room – Space 25

Everyone welcome but please book through Sunshine Coast Library website to avoid disappointment.


Sharing my story

 Hello everyone! I am back from our big UK trip, having celebrated the 80th birthday of my mum and also my mum in law so it was lovely to spend time with close family and some extended family members. Unfortunately, we have returned with chest infections debilitating both my husband David and son Patrick. Gladly I am feeling well and within a week I was back to personal training and also joined a weekly runfit class, to prepare me for the Caloundra Foreshore 10K this coming June. I love the fact the weather is a tad less humid and I am enjoying being outdoors in the sunshine once again. Here is a recent photo of me and my friend Melinda Dines as we took part in the annual Pretty in Pink Bra Walkathon which raised over $20,000 for a local woman who has recently lost her life to breast cancer. Hop onto the PIP Facebook page if you want to find out more.

Me and Melinda D at PIPAlso returning from holiday means that I need to get back into marketing A Stroke of Poetry.

Last week I presented my story to participants of the MAB Personal Training & Adventures ten week challenge and delivered my story of positivity following my stroke and how I overcame many challenges through poetry and exercise. The feedback was great and I was honoured to speak with others who have also inspired me.

On 15 April, this was my three year ‘anniversary’ since my stroke and I am extremely happy with where I am and what I am doing in my life. This is always a cause for celebration and why shouldn’t it be? I am fit, healthy and have written a book which is now helping others to overcome similar obstacles and challenges in their lives.

I am very much looking forward to my forthcoming library talks, where I share my story and some poetry. These are being organised by Sunshine Coast Libraries and here are the Sunshine Coast Library locations and dates which are also detailed on the Events page of my website.

‘Meet the Author’ – Sunshine Coast Library Talks – A Stroke of Poetry

This is a free event and will entail an in depth presentation about my life, my stroke and my extremely heartfelt, emotional recovery back to better health. Books will be available for purchase on the day.

Tuesday 24 May – 10-11:30am – Maroochydore Library – Events Room – Space 45
Thursday 26 May – 5-6:30pm – Nambour Library – Upstairs room – Space 45
Saturday 28 May – 10-11:30am – Caloundra Library – Events area – Space 45
Monday 6 June – 12:30-2pm – Kawana Libary – Meeting room – Space 25

Everyone welcome but please book through Sunshine Coast Library website to avoid disappointment.

That’s it for now but if you need any further information about the book or forthcoming events, please get in touch.

 Email: shelagh@astrokeofpoetry.com

M:0432 552375

 

 


LIWYMI

Stroke survivor to Vintage Calendar Girl!

Who would have ever thought that I would have suffered a stroke? Who would have ever thought that I would have written poetry and self published my book A Stroke of Poetry? I have always believed that things happen for a reason, life is very much what you make it and we have to seize opportunities as they arise. Without my stroke I would not have had a poetic brain. Had I not posted my poems on the wonderful FAST parenting after a stroke then I would not have gained feedback and support into having them published. Had I not met the lovely and talented Alex Mitchell, Author Support Services and attended her ‘Self to Shelf’ Book Workshops in August 2015 I would never have met my lovely friends Allison McMaster and Misty Young Bland. Misty is the founder and organiser of the The Vintage Calendar Girls. After a very successful 2016 Vintage Girls Calendar, raising much needed funds for Rare Cancers Australia, Alli and I were asked to model on the front cover of the 2017 Calendar. So, without my stroke I would not be a front page model with Alli and the AFL legend Barry Hall!

Me and AlliThere is a great article in the Sunshine Coast Daily written by journalist, Roxanne McCarty O’Kane after our first photo shoot at Old Petrie Town and a short video from Channel 7. It would be lovely if you could follow our success this year by visiting The Vintage Calendar Girls on Facebook and ‘liking’ the page.

My blog will be quiet over Easter as I am taking a trip to the UK to celebrate both our mums reaching the grand age of 80. I am sure there will be many celebrations and I hope that you all have a wonderful Easter.

Much love

Shelagh

 


Thank you to Pacific Lutheran College

IWD

A huge, heartfelt thank you goes out to Pacific Lutheran College for including me as a Guest Speaker at their International Women’s Day Breakfast this morning. I had a thoroughly lovely time, mixing with lots of like minded women (and gents) who appreciated my presentation and my positive story after stroke. It once again reinforces the amount of empowering, inspiring women I have in my life who have supported me since my stroke and continue to support me in my venture.

Pic collage PLC day

 

Thank you to the school for helping me spreading the message, helping me sell a few books along the way and presenting me with the lovely flowers.