Wendy Lyons: Stroke a Chord Choir: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Generous stroke survivor helps others find their voice
Passionate. Enthusiastic. Inspirational
Stroke survivor Wendy Lyons started the Stroke A Chord Choir in 2010 when she met other survivors who could sing despite losing the ability to speak.
“We strive to give people the opportunity to hear their voices again and express themselves through song,” says Wendy, who has recovered her voice after her stroke but is unable to interpret touch on her right side.
She is excited to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero. “It’s so humbling that many people care to vote.”
The choir sings across a broad range of musical genres and rehearses weekly in East Ringwood.
Its concerts are inspiring events and bring much joy to the audience, who typically leave on a high, full of admiration for the performers.
“We see many of the stroke survivors look happier and able to communicate better because of the choir,” Wendy says.
“We’ve got our 10th birthday coming up, and we definitely want a special party to thank all the people and the council who have helped us start the choir and keep the choir going.”
The choir also seeks to educate the general public about stroke and to raise awareness about the difficulties of living in a community when you have no speech.
Wendy, who has also set up an art group called Brushstrokes, has participated in research and has received several awards for her work. These include the Life after Stroke National Stroke Foundation Award, an Australia Day Volunteer Award, The Stroke Association of Victoria Appreciation Award and a Yooralla Volunteer Award.
The mother of five daughters has also published an inspirational autobiography, Left of Tomorrow: A Journey of Stroke Recovery.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Stroke A Chord Choir will use its grant to print choir booklets and to pay for ongoing expenses such as hall rental and music copyright.
“We can do extra things to make people happy and put on more concerts,” says Wendy.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.