A stroke survivor is urging Gunnedah residents to know the signs of a stroke.
Stroke Foundation speaker and former local Nancy Hall shared her knowledge and experience at Gunnedah Shire Library on Monday and said the focus was on prevention of strokes.
"It's making people aware of signs they may be showing because we all think we're invincible," she said.
She said the easiest way to remember the symptoms was by using the acronym FAST, which stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time.
Ms Hall said if she had known the signs, she may not have suffered a stroke in 1988.
"Back when I had it, no one talked about it. It was thought of as an old person's disease."
For 6-8 months, she experienced a "fuzzy head", bad headaches and the feeling that she was "walking unsteadily". However, she put it down to high blood pressure and her doctor changed her medication.
She was 49 when she had the stroke and it affected her speech and mobility in her left arm. She was a keen tennis player at the time and had to give it up.
Back when I had it, no one talked about it. It was thought of as an old person's disease.Nancy Hall, Stroke Foundation
Ms Hall was determined not to be beaten and resolved she would work her way back to full health.
"I thought, 'I'm not going to tell anyone I've had a stroke. I'm going to get back to tennis', and I did," she said.
Her advice to everyone she speaks to is "be aware, be vigilant and get help".
"Just be vigilant. Go to a doctor and get it seen. Don't do what I did," she said.
For those who have suffered a stroke, Mrs Hall said it was not the end.
"You've got to think positive and get out there and learn to do things in a different way to before ... You just have to keep trying," she said.
"I've not let a disability stop me ... I plan to keep going while my feet are still walking around."
- Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
- Arms: Can they lift both arms?
- Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
- Time: Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.