Northern Health volunteer Tagreed Khouri is helping to motivate and inspire stroke patients at Broadmeadows Hospital.
Ms Khouri suffered a stroke four years ago following an operation on a brain aneurysm.
The stroke affected the former auctioneer’s speech, requiring her to undergo speech therapy as part of her rehabilitation program.
“It was when I was in rehab I started to realise that something was really different. I couldn’t talk like I used to … I couldn’t understand like I used to,” Ms Khouri said.
“This made me really upset. Before my stroke I was very fluent in English and Arabic. I was an auctioneer – I used to speak all day for my work.”
Ms Khouri did speech therapy as an outpatient at Northern Health. She said the speech therapists helped her immensely.
“The speech therapists are amazing –that’s all I can say. They’re very patient and understanding and knew exactly how to help me … not just with speech but life – my new life,” she said.
Speaking ahead of Speech Pathology Week, Ms Khouri said she enjoyed volunteering on the rehab ward and helping other stroke patients.
She hopes her presence on the ward encourages them to be positive.
“A lot of [the patients] had no idea that I’d had a stroke. I encouraged them to be positive,” she said. “They can see after a stroke that it’s OK, giving them hope. For me it was rewarding.”
Northern Health speech pathologist Stephanie Bennetts said Ms Khouri encouraged patients to keep trying.
“Communication is a basic human right. We as speech pathologists have a big role in helping people like Tagreed to continue to communicate, even though it might be difficult,” she said.
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