Students raise stroke awareness

When it comes to stroke awareness understanding the signs and symptoms are life-saving and time is of the essence.

"It's key to call 911 because you need to get to the hospital as soon as possible. The treatments really begin with EMS," says Munson Stroke Coordinator, Chris Peplinski.

Peplinski is also on the panel for a yearly public service announcement contest that involves high school students.

"We developed a way to educate the community on stroke and signs and symptoms of stroke. This project started with a grant we received from Munson Healthcare Foundations for prize money," says Peplinski.

The contest is in its fourth year and open to 6th through 12th grader students across the region. This year juniors and seniors in the Film and New Media class at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District created 11 videos and two of them came in first and second place. "It was a real world project and we had perimeters from a business, Munson. they actually had something they wanted to accomplish. They could actually cast their commercial. Then they had to produce it. Then edit it along the way," says TBAISD instructor, Tom Mills.

The contest guidelines require students to create their own pitch, script and visual storyboard. The PSA must be 60 seconds and needs to convey the stroke awareness acronym FAST.

"F is for face, facial drop on one side or the other. 'A' is for the arms, 'S' is for speech. 'T' is for time because it's time to call 911 if there's any of these symptoms," says Peplinski.

It's a visual way to not only educate the public but a way for students to research all of the information and inform themselves.

"We were trying to prove the point that stroke can happen to anyone. all is takes is the wrong health conditions and it could happen to you," says TBAISD student, Keegan Ferguson.

"It's important to reach out to schools with the age group 6th to 12th grade because they're the ones home with grandma and grandpa if they have a stroke. They're the people to call 911," says Peplinksi.

Fast acting and fast thinking once a person knows how to react if someone starts showing the signs.

"I think some of these contests can transfer into rea life too. I know a lot of people didn't know what to do in case of a stroke and now they do," says Ferguson.

Click here to see the PSA student videos.