Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
September 2011 Issue
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Don't speak for stroke

For just one hour on Friday 16 September, Adelaide residents are being asked to remain silent.

The request is in aid of a campaign, Don't Speak, which is being launched by the University of Adelaide's Peter Couche Foundation to raise funds and awareness for stroke research conducted within the Robinson Institute.

The foundation is named after University of Adelaide graduate Peter Couche, who suffered an irreversible brain-stem stroke in 1992, leaving him a quadriplegic with "locked-in syndrome".
He can't speak and has little muscle control but an active and alert brain.

Peter has written an inspiring book called Lifelines about his 19 year journey and hope for a medical breakthrough with the help of non-embryonic stem cell therapy.

Peter has established the foundation to raise funds in support of stem cell research by the Robinson Institute to repair stroke-damaged brains.

"Imagine what it is like to have so much to say, but not be able to open your mouth to say a word," said Robinson Institute Director Professor Rob Norman.

"That's what it is like every day for Peter Couche.

"Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Australia and it can happen to anyone. Every 10 minutes someone in Australia has a stroke and there's very little treatment we can give them. That is why it is so crucial to fund novel research using adult stem cells. This research offers a potential treatment to regenerate and repair the brain."

Members of the community, including University staff and students, are encouraged not to speak from 10.00am-11.00am on Friday 16 September. They can be sponsored as an individual or as part of a team. Alternatively, they can make a donation.

For more information and to register for the Don't Speak fundraising campaign, go to:

Facts about stroke

  • Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Australia with more than 250,000 people affected;
  • In Australia there are 60,000 strokes a year - one every 10 minutes;
  • Stroke is Australia's second single greatest killer after coronary heart disease;
  • Stroke kills more women than breast cancer;
  • Strokes cost Australia an estimated $2.14 billion a year;
  • 20% of people having a first-ever stroke die within one month and more than 30% die within a year.

Story by Candy Gibson

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University of Adelaide graduate Peter Couche
Photo by Randy Larcombe

University of Adelaide graduate Peter Couche
Photo by Randy Larcombe

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