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four women on stage, one holding an award

IMMU Manager Carolyn Guichard (left) and Governing Board Chair Professor Heather Cavanagh (right) with Sarah Ashton and her support worker Philippa Reiss. Sarah is pictured receiving the Governing Board’s Chair Award for Sarah’s Story, a unique insight in the physical and emotional journey associated with a dementia diagnosis.

Sarah’s Story touches hearts; changes lives

Jun 15, 2022

Until COVID-19 interrupted volunteer services at NSW public hospitals in early 2020, Sarah Ashton, a member of the Tacking Point Lions Club, volunteered her gardening expertise in the Acute Geriatric Evaluation Management (AGEM) Unit at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.

Sarah’s considerable skills helped maintain the unit’s Dementia Walk courtyard, which had been proudly tended to and revamped by the generous Tacking Point Lions Club.

But Sarah had even more to give – her lived experience with dementia.

Sarah’s Story was beautifully filmed and edited by the Mid North Coast Local Health District’s Integrated Multi Media Unit (IMMU), but this very personal story was told by Sarah, in her own words.

 Carolyn Guichard and Adam Dennison from the Integrated Multi Media Unit helped Sarah tell her story, which has been viewed by almost 90,000 people from all over the world.

At last week’s Mid North Coast Local Health District Health Innovation Awards in Port Macquarie, Sarah’s Story earned the prestigious Governing Board’s Chair Award.

The 20-minute collaboration can be viewed online, Sarah’s Story: Living With Dementia – YouTube

Sarah bravely discusses the impact of a dementia diagnosis, coping with change, relationships and communication, planning for the future and staying healthy.

Sarah’s Story provided 100 per cent of viewers surveyed an insight into the challenges faced by a person living with dementia, with 98 per cent of respondents stating that sharing a lived experience with dementia assists people to understand the personal impact of the disease.

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