'Saxy Lady' fights back after stroke
SHE'S known around Allora as the "Saxy Lady" and says music was the key to helping her overcome a debilitating stroke.
Now Lynette Gordon-Smith is ready to share her gift again, planning a concert at the Allora RSL in July and donating profits from her CD sales to the Stroke Foundation.
Her latest CD is, perhaps appropriately, gospel songs.
"I think once you've had music in your life, you want to get back to it as soon as possible ... I couldn't imagine my life without it," Lynette said.
"I really enjoy putting on a show and making sure people have a good time."
She also wants to raise awareness of the signs of stroke, with early diagnosis and treatment a key to recovery.
She is forever grateful her husband Chris was able to think FAST and get her immediate medical help.
Face - Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms - Can they lift both arms?
Speech - Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time - Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.
After her stroke in 2017, which kept her in hospital for five months, learning to chew, swallow, talk, walk and use her hands again, Lynette defied the experts who told her she may never play her saxophone again.
"It's been a tough journey, but I was committed to beating the odds," Lynette said.
Having had more than her share of health problems - cancer, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes - Lynette encourages others with health issues to embrace music as both an outlet and a tool to recovery.
"It's not about how good you are ... it's a matter of letting that creative part of you out," she said.
At 68, she won the Creative Award at the 2019 Stroke Foundation Awards, but says her recovery was very much "a joint effort".
She is full of praise for the allied health team at Warwick Hospital for their encouragement and support, even on the worst days when she didn't want to get out of bed, to Blue Care and to Chris.
"And the people in Allora have been amazing ... I think in country towns people all stand beside you and give you a hand," she said.
Her earliest childhood memories are of neighbourhood singalongs around the family piano, and from learning the saxophone at 13 to play in a band with her mother and uncle, performing has kept her on the move.
Her four-and-a-half years in Allora is the longest she has lived anywhere, having even "run away with the circus" at the age of 50, playing her saxophone with the touring Ashton's Circus.
She plays at retirement and nursing homes as her way of "giving back", and has such a following that she posts out a newsletter to 287 people each month, despite the postage bill.
"I choose not to drink; I choose not to smoke and I choose not to gamble ... everything we do in life is a choice and that's my choice ... to make a difference to someone," Lynette said.
She also plans to teach children at the neighbouring C&K Community Kindergarten to play the bells for their Christmas concert.
For more information about stroke, phone the StrokeLine on 1800787653 or go to strokefoundation.org.au.