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Melbourne stroke survivor thanks his ‘lifesaver’ Labrador

This International Dog Day (August 26), a young stroke survivor who was told he would never walk or talk again has thanked his ‘best friend’  for helping him through his recovery.

Melbourne man, Kris Vanston, had a stroke in 2020 at the age of 35. He was having surgery when an artery in his neck burst causing a stroke.

“I remember waking up paralysed and thinking ‘what’s going on’. It was frightening.”

Kris was told by doctors that there was no hope and that he would not recover and would need ongoing residential care but he defied the odds and learnt how to walk and talk again. His dog Beau was by his side every step of the way.
“I found support and comfort in Beau because I didn’t need words to communicate with him. 
There are so many therapeutic and healing benefits of the animal-human bond which go far beyond companionship.”

Kris is living with aphasia, a language and communication disorder, and has paralysis on one side of his body. He started his own business and credits Beau for getting him through challenging periods.

“Beau saved my life. He helped me with my mental health and comprehension skills. His visits to the hospital made me happy and now we don’t go anywhere without each other.”

This International Dog Day Kris has a special message for his four-legged friend. “Beau, you are my lifesaver.”

Kris is one of the 142,000 young, working-age Australians (aged 18-65) who are living with the impact of stroke. He wants people to know that it is not something that just impacts older Australians.

“One third of strokes happen to young people. I was fit, healthy and the captain of my football team and it happened to me so I just want young people to be prepared and know the signs of stroke because it can happen to anyone.”

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sharon McGowan, says stroke does not discriminate.

“Stroke can strike anyone at any age, any time which is why it’s so important for people of all ages to know the signs of stroke so they can recognise if they or someone else is having one. The earlier a stroke is recognised, the faster an ambulance is called which means the person having the stroke can receive emergency medical treatment sooner and have a better chance of survival and a better recovery.”

Ms McGowan is urging all Australians to learn the life-saving F.A.S.T acronym.

✔️ F is for face - has their face drooped? 
✔️ A is for arms - can they raise both arms?
✔️ S is for speech - is their speech slurred? and 
✔️ T is for time - time is critical so call triple zero immediately.

MEDIA RELEASE, 26th August 2022

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