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Stroke survivor Anna Bauer-Ross is thriving. In the years following the stroke, she graduated from George Brown College and trained and worked as a volunteer for March of Dimes Canada’s Peers Fostering Hope Program. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at Ryerson University.

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Every nine minutes in Canada someone has a stroke, and while expert medical treatment results in recovery for many survivors, others are left to cope with lasting changes.

But while stroke survivors themselves are dealing with life-changing disabilities, March of Dimes Canada’s (MODC) statistics show that 70 per cent depend on daily support from informal caregivers (spouses, family members and friends) and 80 per cent of these caregivers suffer from burnout.

“March of Dimes’ After Stroke Program helps bridge Canadians back into their homes and communities and supports informal caregivers,” says Mary Lynne Stewart, the charity’s national director of fund development and communications.

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The program is designed to fill the space between hospital and home, says Ms. Stewart, and MODC has set its sights on raising $300,000 to fund 38,200 extra caregiver support hours. This increase will benefit services such as the Peers Fostering Hope hospital visiting program (based on a stroke survivor visiting a person who’s recently had a stroke), establish five new peer groups, start six new caregiver groups and launch 10 new walking programs.

The program is also part of MODC’s commitment to further develop community support to expand the quality of care for stroke survivors and their caregivers, and to enhance and strengthen partnerships with hospitals to improve transitions from hospital to home.

The organization is also concentrating on community re-engagement services for stroke survivors to enable their independence and encourage participation in the community.

While stroke is the leading cause of disability in Canada, MODC serves 75,000 Canadian children and adults of all ages who are living with a wide range of physical and other disabilities.

For more about the After Stroke Program, go to afterstroke.ca; for information about MODC, go to: marchofdimes.ca.

By the numbers

8.5%

The percentage of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) charities and non-profits accounted for in 2017.

2.4 million

The number of people employed by charities and nonprofits.

2 billion*

The number of hours volunteers contribute annually to organizations in the charity and non-profit sector.

Sources: * Imagine Canada;
all others, Statistics Canada

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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