Drumcondra native Gerry Stevens has had a stroke of genius, with the creation of ‘The Strokecast’ – a podcast launched recently to help stroke survivors and their families understand, cope with and adjust to life after a stroke.
Gerry is himself a stroke survivor, having suffered just two and a half years ago, which left him unable to speak properly.
Gerry is well known as a Radio broadcaster, and has been on-air since he was 14 years old, working firstly on many of the famous pirate stations, before broadcasting on RTÉ 2fm, FM104, 98FM and Q102 – and LMFM in Louth and Meath in more recent years.
However, all of this had to be put on hold, after he was hit by a stroke in November 2017.
“I was only 50 at the time,” he told Dublin Gazette.
“I had a brain haemorrhage, which caused a stroke. It left me with no power on my left side, and I couldn’t speak properly at all.
“I had to learn to walk and talk from scratch. I’ve been in broadcasting for 33/34 years. That’s the game I grew up in and knew, but it took me a while to get back on my feet.
“I had met a lot of people doing courses, and from my own experiences in hospitals I knew that they had some amazing experiences to tell.
“There’s a new demographic – a new face of stroke in Ireland, where they aren’t the typical 75-year olds, but people in their 30s and 40s.
“This Friday’s podcast is with a guy called Aaron, who was only 23 when he had his stroke.”
Gerry talks about how the podcast came about.
“I think if you share your story with people you are educating them,” he said.
“I did a course in Ardee for 16 weeks to help me with cognitive rehabilitation. As I was doing that course, the first thing I noticed was that I was probably one of the oldest people at it (at just 50).
“They would have had similar feelings to me, but they never put them down to stroke, but other things.
“I think it’s important that when you get out of hospital, and you are left to your own devices for a while, that you do begin to feel isolated and insecure.
“I felt I wasn’t able to go back to work. I couldn’t get back to the frame of mind or confidence. You have a lot of things to build up to get to a stage of building blocks to get to some goals.
“There’s some amazing people with some fantastic stories to tell. I just thought with my experience in broadcasting, and my contacts that it would be an ideal thing for me to dip my foot back in the water for maybe getting back onto radio.
“I met a friend of mine, who owns Unique Media – Al Dunne. I worked with him many moons ago on a variety of stations.
He said to me ‘why don’t you get back on radio’. I said I don’t really feel that I have the confidence to do that at the moment.
He said ‘why don’t you do some podcasts about stroke. It’s something that you know and do – God knows you have spoken to enough people about it!’
“So that’s how we came up with the idea. People who were very good to me in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda were interested in helping me.”
‘The Strokecast’ produced by Unique Media is available on Soundcloud, iTunes and Facebook.