February this year, Ben Goi, the son of Popiah King Sam Goi and husband of Tracy Lee Mei Ling, died from a haemorrhage resulting from a stroke at the age of 43. This is supposed to be the prime of his life, but stroke does not discriminate even if you have a loving wife and a child that depends on you.
Turns out we are all at risk, especially for young Singaporeans who lack knowledge and awareness about stroke.
Stroke is not an old people disease
According to Nanyang Technological University (NTU), 66% of young adults in Singapore don’t know how to identify any common stroke symptoms. 45% of them cannot name any risk factors of stroke. The study was conducted on 400 working young adults aged 25 to 34.
This is alarming news since stroke is one of the leading causes of disability in Singapore. So, to address the lack of stroke awareness, a group of four students from the NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information has embarked on Singapore’s first young stroke awareness campaign “Strike Before Stroke” to raise awareness and educate young adults about stroke, as well as encourage young adults to understand their stroke risks early through medical checkups or stroke risk screeners.
Dr Chang Hui Meng, Senior Consultant from the Department of Neurology at the National Neuroscience Institute (SGH Campus), mentioned that It is crucial for young adults to be more aware of the factors that can increase their stroke risk so that they can take the necessary steps for early stroke prevention.
Teo Rui Ling, one of the team members behind Strike Before Stroke campaign, highlighted, “Even though stroke can happen to anyone at any age, some young adults have the misconception that stroke is just an “old people” disease. As a result, they might not be aware that they are engaging in behaviours that can increase their stroke risk.
“According to our survey, nearly 57% of young adults believe that they are unlikely to get a stroke because they are young.”
It shows that 1 out of 10 stroke patients in Singapore are under the age of 50.
Strike Before Stroke
The Strike Before Stroke campaign comprises several digital initiatives to raise awareness about stroke and persuade young adults to understand their stroke risks early. Leveraging social media platforms, the campaign uses interactive infographics, narrative stories of real young stroke survivors, and playable quizzes to educate young adults about stroke and the importance of understanding their stroke risks early.
The team developed a digitalised stroke risk screener tool to help young adults in Singapore take the first small step towards understanding their stroke risk. The tool, which was adapted based on the US National Stroke Risk Association’s Stroke Risk Scorecard, provides young adults with a gauge of their individual stroke risk so that they can be more equipped to embark on early stroke prevention.
The campaign also features a series of on-ground interactive roving booths to drive deeper engagement with young adults. The interactive booths include an experiential virtual reality activity to help young adults better understand stroke symptoms and risk factors, as well as free on-site blood pressure tests. The booths will be held at business clusters such as Biopolis, Fusionopolis and Lifelong Learning Institute.
This campaign is supported by Stroke Support Station (S3) and funded by the National Youth Council’s Young ChangeMakers (YCM) Grant for youth projects benefitting society, the Central Singapore CDC Do-Good Grant for ground-up community projects addressing a social cause, and Moleac, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on Brain Injury (Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury) treatment products.