Newry stroke survivor adds her voice to Lost for Words campaign

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
Community
Image Caption: Bernie Fox (pictured) took part in the Young Women after Stroke Group’s charity calendar last year to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association’s Young Women after Stroke Group

Bernie Fox (pictured) took part in the Young Women after Stroke Group’s charity calendar last year to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association’s Young Women after Stroke Group

Newry stroke survivor Bernie Fox, 54, is one of the hundreds of people living with the communication difficulty after a stroke. Bernie had a stroke in 2014. She is one of more than 35,000 stroke survivors living in Northern Ireland. Speaking to Newry Times, Bernie said, “I had my stroke in July 2014 when I was undergoing chemotherapy at the time. I was at home, getting ready to go the hospital for a radiotherapy appointment and the stroke just hit me. “My sister had arrived to the house and I somehow managed to get down the stairs and open the door. I had right sided weakness and I was unable to speak as my words were slurring. “My sister immediately took me to Craigavon Hospital – my symptoms just kept getting worse on the way there,” she continued. “The stroke has left me with aphasia – which means I have issues with my speech as well as severe fatigue, which means I have to plan any activity well in advance as I need to sleep before and after! “The stroke also knocked my self-confidence. I had been training to be a nurse prior to my illness and the stroke left me unable to continue with that. “However, a visit from Stroke Recovery Coordinator, Valerie Dale changed my life. She invited me to attend the Stroke Association’s Young Women’s Stroke Support Group which helped me find my words again, and gave me back my confidence.
Article continues below:
nov-22-2016“I got to meet other young women who have had a stroke and their friendship and support has really aided my recovery. “Their shared experience really helped me as before I could hardly speak – now I’ve spoken on Stroke Association videos and have been invited to speak at other events – it’s really helped. The aphasia still affects me to this day but I’ve learnt how to cope and how to use it to share my story and to let people know that there is help out there,” Bernie added. Barry Macaulay, NI Director at the Stroke Association, said, “After a stroke, around one in three people like Bernie have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. “When we first started supporting Bernie, the aphasia left her with low confidence and self-esteem but since she’s been attending her local support group, she has gone from strength to strength. I’m so proud of her recovery.”
Article continues below:
nov-22-2016-big-boxMore than 350,000 people in the UK have aphasia, a communication disability which can be caused by stroke. The Stroke Association is urging people to show their support for stroke survivors who are lost for words and make a donation. For more information, visit www.stroke.org.uk/lostforwords.

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