FOR many children, their grandparents and parents are their heroes. Heroes who help them, nurture them and love them.What kids don’t know is that sometimes even heroes need help. Every day up to 360 South Africans are affected by strokes, with data suggesting that about a third of those who suffer a stroke will die, and a quarter will be left with a life-changing disability. The risk of stroke increases with age and in South Africa, stroke is the most common cause of death of people older than 50 years old. This October (Stroke Month), the Angels Initiative is on a mission to save South African heroes by getting families around the country to join the FAST 112 Heroes. The FAST Heroes 112 team will be visiting schools to help children identify the signs of strokes, teach them what to do should one of their loved ones experience these signs, and turn them into the next generation of heroes. The team will provide the schools with material and teach them creative ideas to remember all important stroke facts so that they can remember how to save their hero.“Stroke awareness and education is important to the Angels Initiative. In South Africa 10 people suffer a stroke every hour. Getting the message across to as many South Africans as possible can save the lives of countless heroes,” says Carica Combrink, Angels Initiative project lead. A stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when oxygen supply to the brain is cut off by a blockage or damage to a blood vessel in the brain. This causes the brain cells to die, which can be fatal or result in disability. The chances of recovery for stroke sufferers depend on somebody recognising that they are experiencing a stroke and getting them to an emergency hospital FAST. IF YOU SUSPECT A STROKE DO THE FAST TEST: Face: Smile and see if one side droops. Arm: Raise both arms. Does one arm drift down? Speech: Repeat any sentence. Is there trouble speaking or understanding? Time: Time saved is brain function saved. A person loses 1,9 million neurons each minute in which stroke is left untreated. Every minute counts in accessing care. “The FAST heroes 112 campaign aims to educate people about stroke and nourish the relationship between children and their care-givers, regardless of whether they are parents, grandparents or another person. If you think about it, in fighting against strokes, we are not merely mobilising against some disease, what we are doing is saving the experiences which so often get stolen by stroke,” says Carica Combrink.Visit www.fastheroes.com for more information on stroke, to register as an ambassador or nominate a school to join the campaign. The Angels Initiative wants to provide families with tools with a dual role, to help spend quality time together as a family, and by doing so, transfer the knowledge about stroke through incidental learning. By identifying stroke symptoms and immediately calling an ambulance call centre, including 112, you can save a life.The Angels Initiative’s awareness campaigns and training activities are supported by medical company Boehringer Ingelheim, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, stroke support groups, regional health departments and other role-players. — Supplied.