Among the ways a brain can fail – tumour, aneurysm, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s – stroke is one of the most common.  An innocuous word – stroke – you stroke a cat, or a baby’s cheek. But stroke in medical terminology can be lethal.

A stroke is what impacted then 16-year-old Jack Fenton while undergoing heart surgery just over a year ago. Three bubbles of oxygen from the heart and lung machine he was connected to travelled through to lodge in his brain, causing a stroke that left him without movement in his left arm and the left side of his face completely numb. The doctors knew what had happened and were quick to act. Problematically though, as Jack’s mother Marianne explained, the therapy staff spoke as if Jack wouldn’t recover.

“We were in tears when we left Brisbane. Staff were saying, ‘we’ll find another way for you to do things. Find another school. You know you’ve had a brain injury. You know you won’t be going back to normal school’,” Marianne said of the experience.

In true lioness mode, Marianne refused to see Jack’s immobility and numbness as a permanent part of his life, seeking out services closer to their home in the Sunshine Coast hinterland – determined that Jack would recover completely.

When you meet Jack, the first thing that strikes you is the absence of any signs of a stroke.

At the time of the stroke, Marianne saw the need to find therapies to assist in Jack’s recovery as a matter of urgency. The success of her determination is evidenced in his remarkable progress a mere 15 months on.

Marianne began researching and discovered a number of therapeutic approaches to help Jack, now 17, regain mobility and movement in his left arm – drawing on therapies from acupuncture to physiotherapy to a medical assistive device known as the MOllii Suit.

MOllii is a functional garment that consists of a jacket and a pair of pants with a computer control unit that sends electrical signals to the targeted areas of the body via electrodes. MOllii is uses assistive technology with a unique application for people with spasticity, motor impairment, increased or decreased muscular tension, mobility issues and muscular pain and be used by people for a number of muscular and neurological conditions in adults and children alike. MOllii can be rented or purchased under the NDIS plan.

Accessing MOllii locally through Suncoast Integrated Therapies on the Sunshine Coast, Marianne soon discovered that MOllii helped restore movement and mobility for Jack. Being able to utilise the suit on a daily basis for a month was invaluable to Jack’s full recovery she believes.

Over the last 15 months, Jack has focussed intensely on his rehabilitation. It is this fierce determination, alongside his mother’s strong will, that has reaped extraordinary results. Regaining full use of his arm with only a small amount of tingling in his fingertips remaining, Jack has returned to his old school, is working part-time at the local IGA store and getting ready to sit for his manual driving licence. The touch footy field also welcomed him back to his first game recently, with Jack mucking it up in the mud with his team-mates.

Jack acknowledges that if it weren’t for his mother’s stubborn streak and dogged determination that motivated him to adhere to the rigorous therapy schedules, the future might have looked very different for him.

Each year, an estimated 50,000 Australians will suffer a stroke at a cost of $54bn to the economy, resulting in physical and mental disabilities. There are an estimated 500,000 stroke survivors in Australia.

Stroke Awareness Week is held from 31 August – 7 September 2020.

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121 Care’s approach gives people real choice of how much responsibility and control they want to take for their own care plan. I first became involved with 121 Care as a Committee member, but soon was so impressed with the model of listening and insistence on client input that I changed from my previous service provider to 121 Care.

Robert, a client since 2014

121 Care
2019-10-25T16:34:32+10:00

Robert, a client since 2014

121 Care’s approach gives people real choice of how much responsibility and control they want to take for their own care plan. I first became involved with 121 Care as a Committee member, but soon was so impressed with the model of listening and insistence on client input that I changed from my previous service provider to 121 Care.
The biggest benefits with 121 Care are choosing my own carers (I have a fantastic team); the flexibility to run my own roster and organise my shifts with my carers has been awesome. The office staff are very respectful and helpful when I need something. I never feel like I’m a number, but a person which matters to me a lot.

Casey, a client since 2013

121 Care
2019-10-25T16:40:12+10:00

Casey, a client since 2013

The biggest benefits with 121 Care are choosing my own carers (I have a fantastic team); the flexibility to run my own roster and organise my shifts with my carers has been awesome. The office staff are very respectful and helpful when I need something. I never feel like I’m a number, but a person which matters to me a lot.
What I’m grateful for most about getting my support through 121 Care is that I can stay in my own home. The staff members also help me to achieve my goals and offer paid training to our carers to become better workers.

Anne, a client since 1997

121 Care
2019-10-25T16:42:14+10:00

Anne, a client since 1997

What I’m grateful for most about getting my support through 121 Care is that I can stay in my own home. The staff members also help me to achieve my goals and offer paid training to our carers to become better workers.
I appreciated that 121 Care gave me control, rather than telling me what to do. The freedom to interview and choose my own workers is what I like most about my care, rather than being allocated workers without any consultation. It was made clear to me from the start that I would run my own care with my own workers.

David, a client since 1999

121 Care
2019-10-25T16:43:06+10:00

David, a client since 1999

I appreciated that 121 Care gave me control, rather than telling me what to do. The freedom to interview and choose my own workers is what I like most about my care, rather than being allocated workers without any consultation. It was made clear to me from the start that I would run my own care with my own workers.
Just to let you know that Fran, Jenny and myself are extremely happy with the support being given to Jenny at this time. Both workers are excellent!!!

David, parent of a client

121 Care
2020-02-28T10:37:45+10:00

David, parent of a client

Just to let you know that Fran, Jenny and myself are extremely happy with the support being given to Jenny at this time. Both workers are excellent!!!

Sarah (Skelton, Liaison Officer), you have gone about making a difference in a person's life.


Sarah assisted a client with obtaining a volunteer dog groomer role which the client is enjoying tremendously.

Jo Priestly, Client Services Manager (retired 2019)

121 Care
2020-02-28T10:44:02+10:00

Jo Priestly, Client Services Manager (retired 2019)

Sarah (Skelton, Liaison Officer), you have gone about making a difference in a person's life. Sarah assisted a client with obtaining a volunteer dog groomer role which the client is enjoying tremendously.

Thanks for the hard work Jeanie (McDonnell, Client Service Manager). I'm sure it will improve service delivery.

SA, Senior Reportable Incidents Office, NDIS Commission

121 Care
2020-02-28T10:47:43+10:00

SA, Senior Reportable Incidents Office, NDIS Commission

Thanks for the hard work Jeanie (McDonnell, Client Service Manager). I'm sure it will improve service delivery.
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