Stroke news roundup: January 2022

News written on typewriter

Stroke is in the news every month. From inspiring fundraising journeys to emotional survivor stories to exciting medical research. We thought we'd pull together just a selection from the previous month to share here on My Stroke Guide.

Stroke Prevention Day - 14 January

It was Stroke Prevention Day on 14 January and making headlines this year was a survey conducted by the Stroke Association. We found that nine out of ten stroke survivors would warn their younger self to change their lifestyle to prevent a stroke. You can read more about this in both the Dumfries & Galloway News and Cwmbran Lif.

The Belfast Newsletter reported on this story as well, including some tips on how you can reduce your risk of having a stroke. These included monitoring your blood pressure, exercising more, eating more healthily, and more.

We also shared the story of a Camberwell artist and stroke survivor who is urging people to make one small change to reduce their own risk of stroke. Lil Sullivan had a stroke in 2005. It came after her doctor had tried to put her on medication to control her high blood pressure. You can her story in the Southwark News.

A huge thank you

There are so many amazing people out there fundraising for the Stroke Association and we want to say a huge thank you to all of them.

This month, we'd like to say a particular thank you to Ruth Mumford, a Falmouth-based stroke survivor. She's raised over £2000 for the Stroke Association!

After her stroke in 2015, Ruth was left with very limited mobility, but she didn't let this stop her. After a few years of building up her strength, Ruth took up our "Walk your Marathon" challenge. Over the course of about 2 weeks, Ruth accomplished her goal.

You can read more of her story in the Falmouth Packet, including Ruth's plan to tackle the challenge. There are also pictures from the last day, where more than 20 people joined her on a wet January day to for the final 2.2 mile walk, completing her total 26.2 miles.

Survivor stories

There were many stories from stroke survivors in the news in January. We've selected just a few to share with you.

Brooklyn May was only eight years old when he suffered a stroke playing rugby. After being airlifted to Cardiff's Noah's Ark Children's Hospital, he remained there for three months. Back home now, Brooklyn is working daily on his recovery with the love and support of his mother and family. You can read his story in the Mirror.

Jessica Stokes, a 24-year-old mother of one, was rushed to hospital after having a stroke at home. Jessica was moved from the Royal Derby Hospital to the Queen's Medical Centre where she underwent a thrombectomy. You can read more about her recovery in Staffordshire Live.

Helen Mullins was told that the severe headache she was experiencing was 'just a hangover.' But in reality, it was a stroke, caused by a blood clot. She ended up needing emergency surgery to remove part of her skull to ease the pressure on her brain. This all took place during the height of the 2020 COVID lockdown. Helen was unable to see her family during her initial recovery, which she describes as ‘soul-destroying’. Since coming home, her recovery has come on leaps and bounds. Helen is planning on taking part in the Stroke Association’s Stride for Stroke campaign. She is planning to walk 2022 steps and raise £2022 for the charity. There's more on Helen's story in the Metro.

Famous faces

This month, we're sharing the stories of two athletes who used their passion for sport to drive their stroke recovery.

Ashleigh Goddard, a footballer who played for Crystal Palace, had a stroke in 2021. But within six months, she was back playing football. Goddard's stroke occurred during surgery to remove a brain aneurysm. She spoke with the BBC, saying that being able to play football six months after her stroke was her "proudest achievement." You can read more about her story in this BBC Online article.

Jay Johnson had his first stroke in 2018, only six months after the death of his fiancée. Determined to recover, Jay wanted to be up and about right away. But he then suffered another stroke a few weeks later, which left him visually impaired. This was a turning point. He changed his diet and started to lead a healthier lifestyle. He also picked up a new hobby, one that would lead him to be the first visually impaired player in the darts World Cup. He also has his sights set on playing goalball in the Paris 2024 Paralympics. Find out more about Jay Johnson in this article on STV News.

Medical news

We'd like to end this news roundup with a few bits of medical and research news from January.

A team at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is developing a digital tool, funded in part by the Stroke Association. It is called the Virtual Engagement Rehabilitation Assistant or VERA for short. VERA is a guided rehabilitation tool that stroke survivors can use from their own mobile devices. Read more about VERA on the Preston Hub [update: this story has since been removed from the Preston Hub website].

A recent study found that mothers who breastfeed are 12% less likely to suffer a stroke. They also reduce their risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The benefit was even higher in women who breastfeed for more than 12 months. You can read more about this research in this Open Access Government article.

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