Strohab heals holistically

The hip hop group Revenge, are, in front, from left, Jordan Wyngaard and Chays Paulse, middle row, Letitia Johnson and Hilary Blumears and at the back, Jessica Berckett.

Strohab, a stroke rehabilitation and support group, hosted their first fundraiser with a high tea at the Ottery Youth and Education Centre hall, on Saturday July 30.

The aim was to get stroke patients to participate in a social activity and to raise awareness about being disabled.

The event was spearheaded by Levona Johnson, the Retreat Community Health Centre’s physiotherapist, and Elizabeth Toyer, secretary of Strohab, with the help of volunteers, Aasiyah and Mogamat Blake.

Though the majority of the people in the group receive a disability grant to support themselves financially, it doesn’t allow them to improve their functional ability and quality of life, said Ms Johnson.

Ms Johnson said the group was initially for patients who had suffered a stroke and needed physiotherapy. “It has changed into a holistic group where not only the physical need is seen to but also the emotional needs,” said Ms Johnson.

“We formed this group to support and encourage each other. We also take part in social events, like walks and braais.”

The first meeting in 2002 was at the Retreat Community Health Centre and was attended by only seven patients. The group now has about 45 members.

Mr Johnson said Wendy Edmunds, the physiotherapist at the time, thought of moving the group off-site due to lack of space for group sessions.

They then moved to Retreat civic centre, where they now meet on Wednesdays.

Ms Johnson took over the group as chairperson a few years ago and she co-ordinates all the rehabilitation and support group programmes.

“The severity of the disabilities that the people present with vary from severely disabled (in a wheelchair and unable to perform independent function) to milder disabilities (for example, walking with an assistive device).

The actual rehabilitation session is two hours. She said there have been several “overwhelmingly” positive outcomes as a result of the group sessions. “For example, acceptance of the hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body), improved motivation to progress and not regress, decrease in dependence on others, improved muscle tone, improved function (activities of daily living), improved confidence, improved emotional, social and psychological well being, and general improvement in quality of life.”

This group consists of people from Retreat, Grassy Park and Lotus River as well as Mitchell’s Plain. The ages in the group varies.

For more information about Strohab call 078 855 2144.