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“I can’t change what has happened to me, but what I can do is help raise awareness that strokes do happen at a young age.”



Georgia Hanson-Kay was only 19-years-old when she had a stroke here she shares her story with SR Times and also the importance of spreading awareness that stroke can happen at any age.

Could you give us an introduction to yourself and your life pre- stroke? 

Prior to my stroke & TIA’s, I was a healthy 19 year old, non-smoker and I didn’t drink alcohol (not that many people believe that, but it’s true!) I was enjoying University even though it was completely online due to COVID-19. I enjoyed spending time with family, friends and had a huge passion for sport.

What can you remember about your stroke? What could you feel?

At the time when I had my stroke, I had a cold. I can remember waking up one morning and not feeling right, but at the same time I didn’t know how I felt. I sat down for what felt like a lifetime but was just a few minutes and suddenly I got a headache and a feeling that I was going to be sick. Then all of a sudden I couldn’t feel my right arm/hand, my face felt funny, my vision went blurry and when I tried to talk I couldn’t get the words out… I can even remember the right side of my tongue feeling really numb.

I can remember going to ask my mum for help, due to my speech I couldn’t get the words out. After a couple of attempts my mum said “try and smile for me,” it was at this moment when I knew she was doing the FAST test and as soon as I realised I couldn’t smile properly the panic began to set in. 

Thankfully with my mum at home, she called 999 immediately, they were asking my mum to ask me a lot of questions and as my mum was on the phone to 999 my symptoms started to slowly improve. My speech began to be a little bit clearer, I could feel my tongue. However, the right sided weakness, blurry vision and the headache remained.

What was your recovery process like? 

My recovery is still ongoing. Initially, I wasn’t really offered much support because I was never an inpatient in hospital (they sent me home as they thought I had a migraine until I had an MRI which showed my stroke). I also didn’t think I needed the help and that I would be perfectly fine coping on my own, however, I have realised that unfortunately it isn’t that easy and now I’m under the right teams/specialists things are heading in the right direction.

How has stroke affected your everyday life? 

I still have a loss of sensation in my right arm, thankfully I haven’t lost too much strength but the sensation isn’t normal. I also have fixed finger flexion in one of my fingers on my right hand which I have had one operation on to date, as part of treatment for this I am currently under physiotherapists and in a hand splint. I have post- stroke fatigue which is often difficult to manage- a lot of people don’t understand it means more than just being tired. I also have bladder incontinence which I’m currently having investigated.

What do you do now?

I am still studying at University, after my stroke I made the decision that I wanted to try and carry on so that no one (including myself) could ever say I didn’t try. It has been one of the best decisions I made, although challenging, my studies have provided me with a purpose and some great opportunities despite the situation with my health. I continue to spend time with my family who are supportive of me and have really helped me through a tough time.

Do you think there is a stigma against young people and stroke? 

Without a doubt there is a stigma around young people and strokes. Young people and strokes aren’t words you usually hear within the same sentence. I’ve had comments made that I’m “too young” and that “strokes happen to older people”. I generally dismiss these comments, I don’t think people mean to say these comments in a hurtful way, it is more because of a lack of awareness around young strokes. I can’t change what has happened to me, but what I can do is help raise awareness that strokes do happen at a young age.