News roundup: April 2023

Man reading news with cup of coffee

Every month, news sites around the world feature stories about stroke. It’s a lot to keep track of! That’s why we try to collate a few of these in our monthly stroke news roundups.

This month, we’re focusing on stories about volunteering as well as a few about new medical advances. 


On Monday the 8th of May, thousands of people volunteered their time in the Big Help Out. We wanted to recognise the amazing work done by our volunteers.  

Marathon running  

Running a marathon is an incredible achievement, no matter your background. Chris Fountain had a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack) last year. He is an actor best known for his role as Tommy Duckworth on Coronation Street.  

After his TIA, Chris was scared about what this would mean for his future. 

“When the doctors confirmed I’d had a TIA and said the word stroke, I just couldn’t believe it, there was a moment of sheer panic just fearing what it meant for the rest of my life. Going through something like this makes you realise just how fragile life is." 

Chris Fountain, actor

Chris will be undergoing surgery later in May to repair the hole in his heart. His doctors believe this was the cause of his TIA. But before having that, he decided to run the London Marathon on behalf of the Stroke Association. His work shone the spotlight on stroke, raising both awareness and funds.  

You can read more about Chris’s story on the Metro and the Liverpool Echo

Sharing experiences 

Sharon Williams had a stroke in 2018. She says that she had a “good recovery” and was able to return to work as a flight attendant. But this does not mean that she didn't struggle with some of the hidden effects of stroke. These included fatigue, low mood and memory problems. 

This experience prompted Sharon to volunteer with us at the Stroke Association. She wanted to share her journey with other stroke survivors in the hope that it would help them as well.  

“I decided to become a volunteer because I wanted to give something back to people who have been through a stroke and are dealing with its devastating effects. I remember what it was like for me, having my world turned upside down and feeling alone. So, I thought there would be someone out there who could benefit from a chat and a listening ear.” 

Sharon Williams, stroke survivor

Sharon volunteers with the ‘Here For You service, where she has weekly phone conversations with other stroke survivors. This is to help anyone who might be struggling with their recovery or with loneliness. You can read more about Sharon’s story on The Gazette. 

In memoriam 

Christine Wilkie is donating the proceeds from her book to the Stroke Association in memory of her mum. Christine’s mum passed away in 2008 after a series of strokes. 

After doing a bit of digging into her family history, Christine decided to visit Guyana to learn more. She discovered far more than she expected to. This included finding out one of her ancestors was a slave who'd set up one of the country's first free villages.  

Instead of burying the things that she learned, Christine decided to write a book. 

“I was really intrigued. I thought I’m not going to be ashamed of this I’m proud of this.” 

Christine Wilkie

You can read more about Christine’s story on the Press and Journal

Medical news 

This month, we’re looking at three news stories all about high blood pressure.

Potassium-enriched salt

Researchers have found that switching to a low-sodium salt alternatives lowered the blood pressure of people living in care homes. The study looked more than 1,000 people aged 56 or older who were living in care homes in China. About two thirds of these people had high blood pressure to start with. After two years of the study, those who ate meals with the low-sodium salt alternatives had a reduced risk of heart attacks and stroke. You can read more on New Scientist. There can be health risks as well as benefits to switching to low-sodium salt so if you’re considering doing so, please discuss it with a medical professional. 

High blood pressure in young people

The recent Health Survey for England found that as many as 170,000 people in England between the ages of 16 to 24 may have high blood pressure without knowing. That works out to about five in 100 young men and one in 100 young women. You can find out more on the BBC

If you’d like to learn more about monitoring your blood pressure at home, why not check out this page on Blood Pressure UK

15-minute ‘health MOT’

The pharmacy Boots is offering a free ‘health MOT’ to anyone over 40 until the end of June. One of the things they’ll check is your blood pressure. Anyone will high blood pressure will be referred to their GP. You can read more about this and book an appointment at Boots.  

And finally, we wanted to add a link to the coverage for our Amazing Brains event that took place on Thursday, 27 April. The event celebrated progress and innovation in stroke research. It also provided a unique opportunity to hear first-hand about much-needed research into mental health after stroke. You can watch the presentations here

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