Before COVID-19 stroke survivors met for in-person programs offered by Hope After Stroke at the Walnut Grove Community Centre. But despite not being able to meet in person program facilitator Marilyn Piticco (not pictured) wants locals to know she is still available by phone. (Marilyn Piticco/Special to Langley Advance Times)

There’s still Hope After Stroke during COVID-19

Program facilitator remains available by phone

Langley’s Hope After Stroke continues to offer support even after programs for stroke survivors were suspended due to COVID-19.

Marilyn Piticco who would normally be facilitating programs in-person is doing what she can for survivors over the phone.

“It just makes me feel good to be doing something,” she said. “It’s just as much for me as it will be for them.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: B.C. stroke survivor using Jeopardy! to relearn reading ability

Piticco made the decision to suspend programs in early March.

“We don’t know whether or not we’ll be back even in January, like I have no idea when it would be safe to bring vulnerable people together in a space that isn’t six feet away… so it’s a great concern of mine,” she said.

Recently Piticco said she was working to meet survivors using video conference, but says she doesn’t know when she will feel bringing people to meet in-person again.

“When I say come back they feel then they trust me that it’s a safe environment and [then what if] you have somebody next to you that has had a stroke and can’t get their hand up to their mouth quick enough and sneezes, what do you do?” she asked.

She has considered Plexiglas but says it isn’t an option for survivors when many exercises include interactive components.

“I would not be able to feel comfortable bringing the group together,” she explained.

And like many organizations Piticco is wondering how the program will stay afloat financially.

“I have to look at the longevity of us even being able to fund the program,” she said.

READ MORE: Decision on Langley Cruise-In to come in early July

Hope After Stroke relies on donations from the annual Langley Good Times Cruise-in along with government grants.

But Piticco isn’t sure whether the summer car show will move ahead this year will all the provincial health restrictions in place that limit gatherings to 50 people.

Organizers of the event are expected to announce the fate of the car show in July.

“It’s uncertain times for sure for us,” Piticco noted.

Later this year Hope After Stroke, ran by the Langley Community Support Groups Society, had plans to mark a major milestone.

“October is 25 years of the program being at the rec centre (Walnut Grove Community Centre),” Piticco said.

“I was going to have a big celebration…” she added.

But time will tell whether that milestone can be celebrated in-person.

Until then Piticco is still available by phone. To reach Piticco call 604-882-4672.


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