Kat Berkeley, left, Eilly, Ron and Sherry from the Port Alberni Stroke Recovery Group meet Thursday mornings at Abbeyfield House in the basement. ORLANDO DELANO PHOTO

Kat Berkeley, left, Eilly, Ron and Sherry from the Port Alberni Stroke Recovery Group meet Thursday mornings at Abbeyfield House in the basement. ORLANDO DELANO PHOTO

VALLEY SENIORS: Port Alberni group provides support for stroke survivors

The Stroke Recovery Foundation of BC has assisted thousands of stroke survivors and their families

BY ORLANDO DELANO

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

For the past 40 years the Stroke Recovery Association of BC (SRABC) has assisted thousands of stroke survivors and their families to improve their overall quality of life after a traumatic experience. The association’s mission is “to enhance the independence and community integration of people with disabilities.”

The foundation has around 30 local stroke recovery branches. Here in Port Alberni the association has a membership of three to five per session, and holds regular meetings in the basement of Abbeyfield every Thursday morning, under the coordination of Kat Berkeley.

“Our first meeting was in September 2018,” says Berkeley, who was hired to start and facilitate the local group under the mandate of Stroke Recovery of BC and “March of Dime Mandates”(“March of Dimes Canada” provides a wide range of services to people with physical disabilities throughout the country).

“Part of my job as coordinator is to help find the resources/information they need, whether physical or mental or material. I refer people to other agencies or groups or just be an information researcher.

“Our goal is to help transition stroke survivors back into society and improve their life in meaningful, practical ways.”

Another goal of this support group is its social component, which assists survivors to interact and help one another. Peer support and understanding is vital for emotional health and well being.

Eilly, a group member says that she has only been with the program for three weeks. “I enjoy attending and chatting and laughing with the people,” she said. “I have learned a lot regarding strokes, as we can compare notes.”

One member, Ron, says, “I like to joke around, a fun place to be. I like doing tai chi and get along with the group.” Another member, Sherry, adds, “I like to talk to everyone and see how everyone is doing.”

Berkeley became involved with the Stroke Recovery Association not only because she is an empathetic person and enjoys helping others, but also because she has firsthand experience in being a caregiver. She looked after her late husband, Arthur, at home for five years. He suffered from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

“Arthur was basically immobile and needed 24/7 care,” she explained.

Berkeley does creative things in her artistic life: meditation and tai chi. She sews medieval and steampunk outfits and creates purses out of very strange items, like a plastic skull. In addition, she writes poetry and reads it to the public at Words on Fire on the last Thursday of the month at Char’s landing.

“We, in our Stroke Recovery group, are looking for volunteers who have experience in exercise or in helping seniors, or want to learn what living with a stroke is like and how to help them,” says Berkeley.

For more info, please contact Kat Berkeley via e-mail at portalbernistrokerecovery@gmail.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of North Island conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
QUINN’S QUIPS: Art is more than simple expression in First Nations culture

Indigenous artwork has a connection to its people, and vice versa

The Rogers Creek Trail main trailhead is located on the Redford Extension in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hiker rescued after cold few hours in the bush outside Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad said they receive frequent calls for people lost on this trail

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read