Striding forward

PALMYRA’S Beth Browning was just 19 when she suffered a stroke earlier this year.

She was lying in bed on her phone when she started to feel dizzy and noticed she couldn’t text properly, so she went downstairs to tell her parents and they noticed her speech was muddled.

They rushed her to Fiona Stanley Hospital where CT and MRI scans revealed she was having a stroke.

Luckily Beth is studying nursing at uni and her mum is a nurse, so they spotted the symptoms and acted early. 

Amazingly, twelve hours after the stroke, Beth’s speech began to recover and she started “feeling okay again”. 

She says she “got extremely lucky” and fortunately none of her motor skills were affected.

• Beth Browning (back, middle) with her family.

“I didn’t have any permanent cognitive deficits after the stroke…a lot of people out there have a long battle ahead with cognitive deficits after stroke”.

But Beth had to do a lot of rehabilitation and still suffers from fatigue and headaches.

She says she received amazing treatment, but stroke sufferers need more help with the mental health fallout, noting that a lot of support groups were tailored for older people.

“I definitely feel there should be more psychological support. There needs to be a bit more awareness on the mental impact a stroke can have”.

Beth says it’s a misconception that only older people have strokes.

“It’s a very unpredictable sort of illness and it can happen for a range of reasons. It can happen in young people”.

To raise awareness of how strokes can happen to young and old, next month Beth will do the Stride4stroke walk with her parents and siblings to raise money for the Stroke Foundation.

“I’m extremely lucky that I’m able to sit here, and walk and talk and do all the things that I could before,” she says.

“I’ve always been very open with what happened to me.

“I don’t see a point with just sitting back. I want to be getting out there and making a difference”. Ms Browning and her family will be walking from Leighton Beach to Cottesloe Beach for Stride4stroke. To donate go to  http://www.stride4stroke.org.au/fundraisers/bethbrowning/stride-4-stroke

by ALEX MURFETT

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