We are Fundraising 4 Stroke to give back to the Stroke Foundation!
My name is Beth, I am a 20-year-old Student Nurse and a young stroke survivor and this is my story:
On 26th August 2019 last year at the age of 19 (ironically during Stroke Week!) my life changed in an instant and when I suffered a stroke. I was previously a happy, healthy, sociable and physically active teenager with no medical conditions.
It was late one Tuesday evening, I was in my room and suddenly started to feel a bit spacy, disorientated and dizzy. I sat up, had some water and didn’t think anything of it until I went to reply to a message on my phone and realised I couldn’t type any words that made any sense. Every word I was typing was gibberish and no matter how hard I tried, I could not write anything that made a sentence. I soon realised something was very wrong when I also spoke out loud to myself and everything I was saying was muddled and wrong and I couldn’t form a sentence.
I was so frightened and panicked so went to get help from my parents. They got me to try and say what was happening and thought it could be a panic attack because I was so distressed. I had completed an exam that day and had more to come so they thought I may have been under some pressure and feeling stressed but they soon realised after following the FAST test (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) that it was serious and I needed urgent care. My parents called 000 and the paramedics re-assessed me and took me by ambulance and took me to Fiona Stanley Hospital where I was admitted and taken for CT scans and MRI.
The doctors quickly confirmed I had had a stroke and I was admitted to the Neurology ward to find out why this had happened to me at such a young age. After over a week in hospital, further observation, tests, specialist assessments and internal scans of my heart they also discovered a hole in my heart which has been there since birth but undetected until now and think the blood clot travelled through the hole to my brain to the area that controls speech and caused the stroke.
I consider myself very lucky as after about 12 hours my speech returned to normal and I had not suffered any motor or physical deficits. Over the following weeks and months I have had support from my Occupational Therapist to support through my rehabilitation and help me get back to University, cope with my new normal and find ways of coping with my headaches, fatigue and any psychological challenges I was facing.
I received excellent care during my time in hospital – albeit much of this was probably suited to someone 3 times my age. While the staff were attempting to adapt their skills there was a gap in support services for young people who experience a stroke, both in hospital and once you return home.
While I was recovering I organised a successful community fundraising event Stride4Stroke Walkathon 2019 to give back to the stroke foundation.
A week before the event I had heart surgery on the 20th of November 2019 (my 20th Birthday!) and made a full recovery.
There are many additional challenges that come with a young person
suffering a stroke, many of these weren’t considered including the impacts on
my mental health as much as my physical health. This showed there was an
opportunity to bring about change, which is why I and am now involved in the Young Stroke Project sharing my lived experiences and being actively involved in bringing about change and raising awareness of the hidden challenges for young people.
I continue to turn this negative into a positive, share my story and help to raise awareness that a stroke does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone of any age.
As a family we continue to support the Stroke Foundation through fundraising so they can continue to support stroke survivors like me, families like ours, continue to raise awareness and fund much needed research.
This year in 2020 Stroke week is from 31st August - 6th September and we will participate in Fundraise4Stroke.
This week will mark the 1 year Anniversary since my Stroke so we would be so grateful for you support as we get active and Stride once again for Stroke!
Join our team "Stroke Striders", get active, walk some km's, ride your bike, make a donation or share our page to raise awareness in your community of the FAST message, you will be making a difference to people all over Australia.
Beth, Nichola, Martin, Amy & Daniel
Team Stroke Striders