Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Stroke Games – A First in Malaysia

The National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM) is organising the first ever Stroke Games in conjunction with its 20th anniversary celebration.  To be held on March 4, 2017, the event is specially designed so that stroke survivors can participate in various sports within the scope of their abilities. 

This pioneering initiative will showcase the remarkable abilities and the possibilities of life after a crippling stroke.  It captures the strong, innovative spirit of NASAM and upholds the organisation’s motto that ‘there is life after stroke’. 

“The Stroke Games is born out of the belief that sports and playing games heal the brain,” said Founder Chairman of NASAM, Janet Yeo, a stroke survivor herself.  “It will provide a platform for stroke survivors to overcome challenges and inspire them to compete with one another in a spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie.

“After a stroke, appropriate and aggressive rehabilitation is crucial,” emphasised Yeo.  “Participating in a sport or games not only provides physical benefits but also contributes to improving cognition, body awareness and spatial orientation.  In addition to the therapeutic benefits, playing games provide stress relief, builds team spirit and improves social skills.” 

According to Yeo, the Stroke Games is pivotal to taking NASAM and its stroke survivors to new heights.  “The Games is in tandem with NASAM’s mission to continue nurturing a new beginning for stroke survivors through holistic stroke-specific programmes.  It is a reminder to our survivors and families never to give up.  The event also showcases to our donors and the public that with motivation and dedicated support a stroke survivor is capable of amazing recovery.  This will be an opportunity for them to see our stroke survivors as courageous champions and super heroes.” 
The Stroke Games will be held at the Panasonic National Sports Complex in Shah Alam, and will see about 800 stroke survivors, family and friends from NASAM’s nine clubs nationwide coming together.  There will be 34 sporting activities – eight individual and 26 group challenges.   These include table tennis, darts, bowling, carrom, obstacle walk, baton relay, and basketball.

Each game has been carefully selected and modified, taking into consideration factors such as the abilities and stress levels of stroke survivors.  “The sporting activities involved in the Stroke Games have been modified to be safe for stroke survivors,” added Qamer Iqbal Khan, NASAM’s Rehab Training and Development Head.  “The degree of modification is based on the severity and impact of the stroke.  For example, basketball shoots or throwing darts will be played standing as well as sitting on a chair.  So whether you are in a wheelchair or walking independently, the experience will definitely be enjoyable, fun and at the same time aid recovery.” 

To make the Stroke Games a reality NASAM is seeking contributions from organisations and individuals. The sponsorship can be in cash or in the form of specific items, including hotel accommodations for stroke survivors and their caregivers, t-shirts, trophies and transportation. In return sponsors will be featured on promotional materials such as t-shirts, caps, buntings and banners, and also on NASAM’s official website.  All cash donations are tax exempt. 

“We want the Stroke Games to be a point of pride for stroke survivors and for all Malaysians,” said Yeo during a media briefing at NASAM on Monday.  “Our stroke survivors are ready to step out, put aside their challenges and demonstrate their inner strength and amazing abilities.  We need your support to make their day spectacular.”  

At the media briefing the Stroke Games logo was unveiled by the patron of NASAM, YABhg Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Hajjah Dr Aishah Ong.  The logo, a torch with vibrant colours and design represents the stroke survivor’s rise to the challenges of 'life after stroke'.  It denotes determination, inner strength, courage, hope and distinctly shows the final strides made to overcome the odds and emerge as champions. 

The Stroke Games will culminate with NASAM’s 20th Anniversary dinner on Sunday, March 5 2017, at Geno Hotel, in Subang Jaya. 

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