By Justin Flynn
Gemma Wearmouth was just 33 when she suffered a major stroke just before Mother’s Day this year.
She had just gotten home from work and started showing the warning signs.
Fortunately her husband and neighbour were also home and recognised the FAST (face, arms, speech, time) symptoms and immediately called triple 0.
Gemma is gradually making a full recovery, but it could have been so much worse.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Australia.
In response, Gemma’s friend Petti Pettinella has organised Clothes for a Cause, a day of raising money for the Stroke Foundation.
The response so far has been overwhelming.
Petti has asked for women to donate items of clothing, accessories and shoes to be sold off at a function at Memorial Reserve, Ocean Grove.
“Quite a few people in the area have had strokes,” she said.
“The more you talk about it the more you realise that in the community it’s something that is quite prevalent. A lot of people have been affected by it.”
Petti has had bags of clothing brought to her. Clothes have been donated by teenagers right through to seniors.
“Women in the community have been amazing,” she said.
“We are such a small community and every time somebody has a fundraiser our community is amazing.
“I think there is something special about small towns.
“You do it for the next guy even though you’re an acquaintance or a neighbour you’re still going to do it for them because if the shoe was on the other foot that person will do it for you.”
Clothes for a Cause has the backing of the Stroke Foundation, which will provide a guest speaker for the four-hour event.
Every cent handed over from the clothing sale will go to the Stroke Foundation.
For Gemma, she acknowledged she was lucky. It could have been so much worse.
“I was healthy, fine, nothing wrong with me and completely out of the blue,” she said.
“Before May to me it was an old person’s disease, something that happened to grandparents.
“But the more we’ve looked into it, we realise it’s any age. Kids as young as seven can have a stroke.
“When Petti mentioned it to me I said ‘yeah let’s go’.
“If we can just help one person get to the hospital quicker, our goal is made.”
Clothes for a Cause is on Saturday 7 September from noon to 4pm at Memorial Reserve, Ocean Grove.
Tickets (which must be pre-booked at geelongtickets.com.au) are $20 and includes finger food and a first drink. Clothes will be on sale during the afternoon.
Donations of good-quality clothing can be made by contacting Clothes for a Cause’s Facebook site.
Stroke Awareness Week runs from 3 to 8 September.