World Stroke Day is now a major global phenomenon. From humble beginnings, marking the formation of the World Stroke Organization on October 29th 2006, it has grown to embrace a concept of stroke in a holistic fashion. This is again in evidence in 2012, with the reinforcement of the 1 in 6 campaign, which began in 2010. A unique focus for 2012 will also be on care providers and champions of stroke. Care providers are the unsung heroes of stroke: often bearing the brunt without complaint and with lives sometimes completely altered by the unexpected intrusion of a sometimes-catastrophic event.
They play an important role within the WSO and because of their high levels of motivation they are often very effective champions. The plight of carers is relatively understudied, although we do have evidence of the stresses associated with long-term care and its financial impost.
Champions of stroke can draw attention to their plight, as well as other important messages concerning prevention, acute management and rehabilitation.
The WSD event has also grown in stature over the last six years, and provides a platform for stroke awareness around the globe. Wonderful examples include last year's finalists, Brazil, Israel and Mongolia. It seems appropriate that Brazil were the eventual winners of the WSD gold award, given that this month is the WSC in Brasilia, Brazil.
Another exciting initiative to be announced at the congress is the new symbol ‘stroke solidarity string’ linking stroke awareness activities and programs around the world.
Also, at this month's congress in Brasilia, Stephen Davis will assume the presidency of the WSO succeeding Bo Norrving. Bo has been an outstanding President, and has consolidated the WSO unequivocally as the lead organization for stroke globally. His calm and inclusive style has endeared him to all those in the stroke community as well as providing inspiration for the organization as a whole, and his work with the WHO and United Nations represents one of the most important linkages that we have. Bo will continue in this role as a liaison thus ensuring longevity of these crucial links.
In assuming the Presidency Stephen Davis is superbly equipped to the lead the WSO into its next era. His international standing in research an advocacy is admired universally; the WSO is in very good hands.