Stroke survivors sing in public to assuage pain, raise awareness of condition

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A group of stroke survivors have decided to raise awareness on the disease and its disabling effect on those who suffer from it.

Through their Stroke Survivors Choir, they hope to uplift their spirits as well as to demystify the myths surrounding stroke in the country.

As stroke victims who were once rendered either completely or partially immobile, they believe the only means through which they can deal with their episodes of pain is singing.

The group of 13 from Peki in the Volta Region performed the Ewe version of the popular hymn ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ for the first time in public.

They rehearsed for few hours while en route to the Greater Accra Region for the Annual Stroke Survivors Day celebration at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

In an interview with JoyNews, the Executive Chairman of the Stroke Survivors Association who doubles as one of the Choir’s instructors, Samuel Sedodo, hinted that the Choir would be engaging in more of such performances.

“Today is our first time of trying to sing in public like this or sing to a huge audience like this. Upon all these, we’d again manage to continue to organise ourselves more,” he said.

His colleague instructor, Albert Nyalemegbe, revealed he has been singing since his youthful days in school.

He explained the choice of the song for such an august occasion of the public unveiling of the group.

In an interview with JoyNews, the Executive Chairman of the Stroke Survivors Association who doubles as one of the Choir’s instructors, Samuel Sedodo, hinted that the Choir would be engaging in more of such performances.

“Today is our first time of trying to sing in public like this or sing to a huge audience like this. Upon all these, we’d again manage to continue to organise ourselves more,” he said.

His colleague instructor, Albert Nyalemegbe, revealed he has been singing since his youthful days in school.

He explained the choice of the song for such an august occasion of the public unveiling of the group.

“I am a singer and not a choirmaster; I am not a composer but I can sing any song. I was in a choir singing since 1961 in the school choir. This is our first time of rehearsing this song at the time we were coming.

“Our leader told us we should try and sing a song. So, I suggested ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ because for our sickness, if not because of Jesus, we would not be alive,” he noted.

For them, singing is quite difficult than usual.

“Because of the pain we do sustain, sometimes you can’t hold your breath for long to sing to a certain duration. So, there are breaks sometimes.”

As stroke survivors, some of them still suffer from mild paralysis. They also sometimes suffer public ridicule because of their difficulties with movement.

“The sickness has deprived us [of love from] the society. To be honest, it has deprived us so much that some people [victims] are frustrated. When you see the condition of some people, it is very worrying.

“We are trying to entertain ourselves small with the song. If you are in a choir, your heart is always happy; you will be happy always. When you are sick, you sing, when you are feeling pains, you sing; so, singing is good,” Samuel Sedodo and Albert Nyalemegbe said.

For these stroke survivors, singing does more than just make them forget their troubles.

They hope to use it as a tool to increase awareness of stroke and demystify the illness. In the near future, they hope to sing more than just in Ewe.

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