After suffering two strokes in recent years, 52-year-old Kimone Haddon became driven to help others through difficult times.
Following her first stroke in 2012, the Tarraganda resident taught herself to talk and walk again, regaining her independence with endless hard work.
We only know ten per cent of what the brain does.TAFE graduate Kimone Haddon
“My advice is to never give up hope, never say never,” Ms Haddon said ahead of national Stroke Week in September.
“I’m improving all the time.
“When I get up I put one foot in front of the other and get on with life.”
The founder of the Bega Stroke Recovery Club has recently completed a Certificate 3 in Individual Support at Bega’s TAFE Campus.
“I want to help people, because I was helped after my stroke,” she said.
“Anything I can do to help make life better for someone, I’ll do it.
“I’m stubborn, I never give in.”
Ms Haddon said the fact the course is taught face to face and not online was a big factor in her decision to take it on.
She completed her 120 hours of work placement at Bega High School, where she has since been offered a casual position, and Tulgeen Disability Services.
During her time at the high school she says she felt right at home in the dynamic environment, involving herself in everything from aerobics and athletics to mathematics and English.
“What you see is what you get with kids,” she said.
“They have their own individuality, everybody is different.”
During recovery from a stroke, Ms Haddon said a person’s “brain rewires itself to help in different ways”.
“We only know ten per cent of what the brain does,” she said.
“I was right handed but now I use my left hand, and it’s getting better.
“When I was learning to talk the littlest words could be the hardest, and I didn’t used to swear but those words came out so easily,” she said with a laugh.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 strokes, which affect blood flow to the brain, were the the third leading cause of death in Australia
The Bega Stroke Recovery Club meets once a month, and Ms Haddon said anybody wishing to join can become involved.
“Anyone who has anything to do with stroke victims, even carers are welcome,” Ms Haddon said.