14 March 2019
Good news for thousands of New Zealanders – the Stroke Foundation’s Big Blood Pressure Van will be on the road for another three years.
That means many more people will get the opportunity to take a potentially life-saving blood pressure check – for free.
It’s been made possible with the generous support of Ryman Healthcare, who funded the development of the van last year, and have now committed to a three-year deal worth more than $300,000.
“Ryman’s decision to support the van for another three years is fantastic news for us,” Stroke Foundation CEO Mark Vivian says.
“But more importantly, it’s also fantastic news for people all over the country who will be able to get a potentially life-saving check – without it costing them a cent.”
The Big Blood Pressure Van was launched last year after Ryman chose the Stroke Foundation as its charity partner, and has since visited 90 sites around the country.
More than 20,000 Kiwis have taken a quick, painless test in the customised van to find out if they have high blood pressure.
“That’s very important, because high blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke,” Mr Vivian said.
“But many people don’t know they have it – it’s sometimes called the ‘silent killer’ because it shows no symptoms.
“So a blood pressure check is crucial in detecting it – and once detected, it can usually be treated successfully.”
In fact, 8000 people have been recommended to monitor their blood pressure after their test indicated elevated blood pressure – a step that could help keep them healthy, or even save their life.
Ryman Healthcare chief executive Gordon MacLeod said the company jumped at the chance to turn a one-year partnership into long-term support.
“We were delighted to be able to help the Stroke Foundation last year with funding to get the blood pressure van on the road.
“The van has visited our villages and our construction sites, and it has also been a hit with hundreds of our residents and staff who have made use of the free checks.
“It has been a practical way to make a difference to the health of Kiwis, and we’re pleased to be able to support the foundation with this long-term partnership.
“We love what the Stroke Foundation does to support the health of New Zealanders, and we hope as many people as possible will make use of the chance to get their blood pressure checked.’’
This week the Big Blood Pressure Van is at the ASB Polyfest, helping all communities stay safe from high blood pressure and stroke.