My Journey Back to Work at Casey RACE
July 4, 2023
Martina Surridge has been a shining example of workplace innovation since joining the Casey RACE team in June 2022. Despite facing significant challenges due to a stroke in her thirties, Martina has emerged as a strong and inspiring team member.
In 2011, Martina experienced a massive stroke when her baby was just eight weeks old, leading doctors to predict that she would never walk or talk again. Prior to the stroke, Martina was fit and had a successful career in the banking sector.
After a decade of being unable to work, Marina started volunteering at the Y café. She was able to transition to a receptionist position when the pandemic struck and earned a gym membership through her volunteer hours. This provided her with meaningful work in tough times, increased her happiness and allowed her to create valuable social connections.
The supportive environment at Casey RACE allowed Martina to thrive in her new role. When a manager began interviewing for new hires, Martina's determination led her to ask for a position. This bold move paid off, and transitioning from a volunteer to a paid employee boosted her morale and self-confidence.
Casey RACE has fully supported Martina through her journey, providing her with a printed roster, highlighting important information, and ensuring that her team members understand her limitations due to brain damage from the stroke. Her team's patience, understanding, and support have been invaluable to her success.
Martina's story serves as an inspiration for others in similar situations, as she urges them not to give up. “Don't give up, I too had been out of work for so long, but I never stopped trying. I knew that one day someone would see my value,” Martina said. Volunteering can provide real experience in a desired field; combined with determination and hard work, has enabled Martina to showcase her abilities to her community and everyone at Casey RACE.
Since returning to work, Martina has found a renewed sense of independence and the ability to plan for the future. “I am able to make plans for the future as I have my own income, I no longer need to justify my expenditure,” Martina explained.
However it has not been an easy journey. Her driver's license was revoked, and she has had to learn new skills, such as walking, talking and navigating life using public transportation. She recently purchased an adult tricycle to help her get around. Having a stroke has profoundly changed Martina's outlook on life. “I am now thankful for every year I get older, and I no longer dread getting older. As I know it's a privilege,” Martina added.
Martina's story is a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and the support of a caring community. Her journey back to work at Casey RACE has been inspiring, and her experiences serve as valuable lessons for others facing similar challenges.