TWO TALENTED friends from Bournville College in Longbridge, one who herself is a stroke survivor, and students from there have raised £1,660 for Bromsgrove’s Life After Stroke Centre.
And this week, representatives from The Stroke Association went down to the college to be presented with the cheque and to raise awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of stroke.
‘Avis and Tilley Art’, which collected the cash, is made up of Sharon Tilley, a support co-orninator and talented seamstress, and lecturer Jo Avis to fund-raise for local causes.
Jo, in 2004 at the age of 26, suffered two strokes as a result of the heart infection, endocarditis.
The strokes affected her left side, her speech and her ability to swallow and, as part of her recovery, Jo underwent mitral valve surgery during a long stay in hospital.
During this difficult time, a friend brought her some colouring pencils and sketch pads and she started copying drawings from her get well soon cards.
Then, once out of hospital, Jo lived with her parents who bought her a tabletop easel, canvas and paints and that is where her love for painting began.
Jo said she found painting very enjoyable and relaxing, adding it helped her cope with the physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy needed for her continued recovery.
Now, 12 years on, Jo still requires treatment to manage central stroke pain and art helps her manage her condition.
In 2013, to celebrate ten years as a stroke survivor, Jo and Sharon decided to start selling their art and crafts to raise money for charity by opening a Facebook page.
‘Avis and Tilley Art’ have been supporting the Make May Purple stroke awareness campaign by selling a variety purple pieces of artwork.
Cash was also raised by the students who made and sold Christmas cards, Mother’s Day cards and other crafts and held fun competitions and raffles.
The Life After Stroke Centre was chosen because stroke was a subject close to Jo’s heart and because they know how important the support services and activities provided for survivors and their families are.
Stu Cooper, Bromsgrove Life After Stroke Centre’s community development manager, said: “It is a fantastic amount that has been raised and there’s still more coming in.
“It has been a real team effort by both Jo and Sharon and the students who have really got involved.
“Today’s visit was not just about raising cash but awareness as well about stroke in young adults.”
Visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/AvisTilleyArt for more on Avis and Tilley Art.