02/02/2017 00:01 GMT

Two Stroke Survivors Reveal The Importance Of 'Acting Fast' To Avoid Heartbreaking Consequences

'The quicker you act the more of the person you save.'

A powerful video starring two stroke survivors has proven why it’s so important to call for help immediately when experiencing symptoms such as slurred speech or a droopy face.

In the clip above, one of the survivors Carolyn tells of how she received medical help quickly thanks to her brother’s fast response - and therefore wasn’t left with brain damage. 

Her story is contrasted with that of Steve, who has been left with life-changing disabilities because he didn’t access help quick enough. 

The pair star in a campaign from Public Health England, which urges the public to ‘Act FAST’ if they experience - or witness anyone else experiencing - symptoms of stroke. 

Public Health England
Carolyn and Steve

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain.  

As many as 100,000 people have a stroke each year in the UK. More than 40,000 of these people are killed, while almost two thirds leave hospital with a disability.

In response to this staggering statistic, Public Health England has teamed up with the Stroke Association to release a series of moving films to help raise awareness of the vital role anyone can play when they see someone having a stroke.

The first film, starring Steve and Carolyn, is a solemn reminder of how disability can be greatly reduced when people act immediately and urgently seek help. 

The difference in their recovery was simply down to how soon 999 was dialled.

Another film features famous faces such as Radio DJ Mark Goodier, who had a stroke last November, and presenter Anna Richardson, whose father had a stroke a few years ago. In the film they discuss their experiences and why it’s so crucial to act fast. 

The acronym FAST, which features heavily across the campaign, refers to the following symptoms of stroke: 

:: Face - has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

:: Arms - can they raise both arms and keep them there?

:: Speech - is their speech slurred? 

:: Time – to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs of a stroke.

Psychologist Dr Lasana Harris says some people delay acting fast in an emergency because they worry that they do not have the person’s permission to interfere. But she stresses that a stroke is a medical emergency and people need to act fast regardless.

With over 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, the new ‘Act FAST’ films are encouraging everyone – whether they are a stranger in the street, a family member at home or the person themselves – not to ignore the key symptoms and to call 999 immediately if they notice even one of them.

Getting appropriate treatment can reduce the amount of brain damage and ensure a better chance of making a good recovery, according to PHE. 

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, says: “We know people recognise the signs of stroke but they aren’t taking the right action at the right time. A stroke is a brain attack and acting fast makes a huge difference.

“You are more likely to survive a stroke and make a better recovery if you call 999 on spotting any one of the symptoms. The quicker you act the more of the person you save.”