The Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research

Donate now

Changing lives through research

As a result of a recent research programme the Rose Centre was able to reduce the rate of pneumonia by 17% in stroke patients and save district health boards over $1.5 million in one year.  The rehabilitation clinics at the Rose Centre is an evaluation and treatment clinic that offers specific, effective and innovative diagnostic and rehabilitative procedures for swallowing disorders that are driven by the latest research and physiological needs of our patients.

Rose Centre

How the Rose Centre for Stroke and Research has helped me - Tony's story

Tony Porter of Hawkes Bay is a University of Canterbury graduate, an internationally acclaimed civil engineer, a keen cyclist and grandfather of five. He is also a stroke survivor.

Tony’s life changed completely in 2014 when he suffered a stroke that left him unable to swallow and with disability to his right side.

“It was just completely out of the blue. I didn’t have any of the usual contributing pre-cursors to stroke – I was fit and healthy and then in an instant it all changed,” Tony says.

“It was immediately obvious when it happened that I was unable to swallow.”

Life for Tony became one of five daily ‘feeds’ via a tube in his stomach due to his inability to swallow. He tried to continue life as normal, going back to work and cycling, but the things he used to enjoy were marred by his continuing struggles with swallowing.

“I got frustrated in situations like meetings when everyone else would stop for a cup of tea and a chat, I had to get nutrition through a tube,” Tony says.

“And I used to get some very strange looks when I was out cycling and would have to stop rehydrate through my tube. Goodness knows what passers-by thought I was doing on the side of the road. I was in an OK situation, but it was far from ideal.”

After coping for a few months, Tony began to struggle more with how his disability was affecting his day-to-day living.

  • Tony Porter

    Tony Porter - stroke survivor

    Three weeks of treatment has seen me feeling confident and this latest technology has been fantastic. I can see my swallowing improving

“It wasn’t until I had the stroke that I realised just how much of our daily and social life relies on eating and drinking,” Tony says.  

“Just simply not being able to go out with friends for a meal or have a cup of coffee was having a real impact.”

Tony describes the introduction to the Rose Centre and the team that works there as another life changer, which set him back on the road to normality. He found the staff at the Rose Centre committed to achieving the best possible outcome for him and describes them as caring, patient and persuasive.

“After my first three weeks of treatment I could drink coffee, eat scrambled eggs and best of all carrot cake – albeit with some difficulty and best not done in public,” Tony says.   

A further two weeks of treatment at a later date had him eating a range of selected food the traditional way and no longer dependent on the tube. 

“The team at the Rose Centre gave me the confidence to keep pushing myself and I can now eat practically all foods that are put in front of me and my biggest problem is not eating too much.”

Tony says he is truly indebted to Maggie-Lee and her team at the Rose Centre as they continue to push the boundaries and give people like him a second chance.