The BSSG was founded in 2002 by Jenny Cheng and is now recognised as one of the most active and innovative community-based stroke support groups in Australia. Jenny tells us of the events that led to the formation of the BSSG in these words …
I’m a stroke survivor. I survived a brain haemorrhage on the 27 March 1993. Stroke is a brain attack, like a heart attack, that comes quickly. Within minutes it transformed me from a healthy working mother and wife to an incoherent, half paralysed individual. It was terrifying…it was depressing. Nothing had prepared me for the trauma… stroke is so sudden. My recovery was difficult not just for myself but for the whole family. It was slow but positive and gradually I got back to doing some of the activities I used to do. I needed lots of support but stroke services in the community were uncoordinated and difficult to access.
The City of Boroondara where I live, had a population then of 150,000 but had no stroke support group. So in 2002 I formed one – the Boroondara Stroke Support Group, known as BSSG. My home was initially my refuge and shelter from the fast-moving incomprehensible world, and later was a safe haven to work on my recovery, reviewing and contemplating my future. My home is now my castle where once again I reign supreme!
The BSSG now has a membership of over 100 stroke survivors, carers, volunteers and friends. We provide a number of activities and programs for our members, publish a quarterly Newsletter and a website. In 2016, the Boroondara City Council and the Stroke Association of Victoria worked with the BSSG Committee to establish the Boroondara Community Stroke Hub at 533 High Street, Kew. This facility now houses both the BSSG and the Sing for Recovery Choir.