Stroke Survivor Biography

Featuring: Maria Tonkin

Meet Maria Tonkin. Maria was born in the Northern Cape town of Calvinia in 1940. She lived there with her family until they all relocated to the suburb of Durbanville when Maria was a teenager (her parents later moved back to Calvinia as they found it difficult to adapt to life in Cape Town.) Maria stayed on with an aunt in Strand.  She later married and had 3 children of her own.

In 2015, while living in Macassar, Maria returned from church one morning and found that her systolic blood pressure had risen to 200. An ambulance was called and Maria was taken to hospital. On the following Tuesday evening Maria suffered a stroke. On the Wednesday she couldn't walk and her left side was paralysed. She spent 3 weeks at Conradie Hospital in Pinelands.

After being discharged, Maria went home to her daughter who continues to live with her to this day. Maria is very grateful for her daughter's support and assistance. She says that generally her health is very good. She is looking forward to having a cataract operation some time in the future as she suffers from blurred vision.

In 2015 Maria heard of the Stroke Support Macassar group through the physiotherapist at Macassar Day Hospital, and decided to join the group.

She enjoys the groups immensely. So much so, she wishes the group could meet more often than just once a week! Maria says it's not only an opportunity to get out of the house, but that seeing old friends and meeting new people is very enjoyable. Although Maria cannot use her left hand and still has problems with her left foot, she has found the exercises she does at the group beneficial. She walks to church every week and keeps herself busy with household chores.  She also enjoys gardening - even if it's just weeding for a while in the sunshine every day. She is a lady that cannot sit idle and likes to keep busy.

Maria proudly says that when something needs to be done, she wants it done immediately. She can now make herself a cup of tea and a sandwich - and even irons.  "We need to help ourselves," she says, "One day at a time."


The Helderberg Stroke Support Group (HSSG) has been assisting stroke survivors and their families in the Helderberg Basin for twenty five years. The organization is registered as a Non Profit Organization and has been approved as a public benefit organization.

NPO 016-622 | PBO 930015113

+2721 852 8233 |  +2779 612 8903


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