She's proof that stroke isn't the end
IT WAS only when her family realised they had not seen her all day that they knew something was wrong.
When Jane Yeo, then 36, was discovered asleep in bed, she was still dressed in her clothes from the day before.
It was only when the former kindergarten teacher was recovering in hospital that she realised she had suffered a stroke.
That was 14 years ago.
"I was in and out of a coma for three days," said Ms Yeo, now 51.
"When I regained consciousness, I realised that the stroke affected the right side of my brain, which is my dominant side. My left side (of the brain) was still bleeding."
The stroke affected her mobility, and it took her months to relearn a whole range of activities, including how to walk and feed herself.
She still has difficulty moving around and is unable to use her right hand. She walks with the aid of a cane and her right leg has been fitted with an ankle-foot orthosis brace to assist her with walking.
But Ms Yeo persevered with her rehabilitation and even managed to return to work as a training coordinator.
These days, she is a volunteer with the Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA). She visits stroke victims at least twice a month to befriend them and keep them company.
Ms Yeo will be one of the many stroke victims at a movie gala tomorrow when a programme for stroke survivors called LIFE (Learn, Interact, Flourish, Engage) After Stroke will be launched.
Run in partnership with social enterprise NTUC Health, it aims to enhance the well-being and quality of life for stroke patients. From Oct 18, the three-month pilot programme will be held on Saturdays at NTUC Health's Silver Circle Senior Care Centre in Serangoon Central.
SNSA and NTUC Health aim to replicate this programme in other regions of Singapore, and have plans to conduct the programme in different languages and for specific groups such as young stroke survivors like Ms Yeo.
Tomorrow's event will feature a screening of Against The Wind, a documentary which chronicles the journeys of stroke survivors and their families.
Deidre De Silva, president of the SNSA and senior consultant neurologist at the Singapore General Hospital campus of the National Neuroscience Institute, said: "Stroke hits suddenly without warning, yet leaves long-term consequences.
"Stroke survivors and their families often find themselves struggling to cope in a difficult and often isolated situation.
"This programme aims to help stroke survivors realise that there is life after stroke, and to help them manage and cope with the burden of stroke."
The gala aims to raise awareness of stroke as well as funds for SNSA. There are about 30 tickets - priced at $100 each - still available.
A silent auction of 10 handmade Peranakan beaded bags based on an artistic impression of the brain will take place at the gala, as well as through SNSA's website.
The gala will take place from 1.45pm to 5pm at Hall 6 of GV Grand, which is located at Great World City.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.snsa.org.sg