Kellyville stroke survivor shares story as part of free community forum

Kellyville stroke survivor Erin Adams

What to do when stroke strikes

Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Westmead Education & Conference Centre

Kellyville mother Erin Adams was just 31 when she suffered a terrifying stroke, losing all feeling in her right arm and face.

Westmead Hospital doctors discovered a clot in her brain, most likely the result of an undiagnosed hole in her heart.

Three years later, Erin has almost made a full recovery and now regularly shares her story, in the hope of educating people about the journey during – and after – a stroke.

Erin will be one of the speakers at a free community forum, held during Westmead Hospital’s Hospital Week, focusing on what to do when stroke strikes.

“I think there is still so much mystery around stroke; I had no idea I had a hole in my heart and no idea it had the potential to cause a stroke,” Erin said.

“Once you’ve had one stroke, the likelihood of it happening again increases so I still live with that level of uncertainty – it’s a difficult thing.”

Erin was watching TV in her bedroom on 22 June, 2014, when she started to struggle to pick up the remote control. She noticed her hands looked strange and then realised she couldn’t feel her face.

“In my head, I said to my husband: ‘there’s something wrong, call an ambulance’ but I couldn’t get the words out, my speech was completely slurred,” she said.

In minutes, the right side of her face had dropped and she had no feeling in her right arm or face.

Westmead Hospital doctors diagnosed a probable stroke, identifying a clot in her brain.

“It was absolutely terrifying – I was aware of what people were saying around me but I couldn’t communicate with them; I thought to myself: ‘what if this is it?’’’ she said.

Erin, a qualified trainer, has since used her experience to develop the Moments of Truth training sessions, sharing her journey with healthcare providers, in the hope of creating better understanding about the patient experience.

“I realised I had a voice and an experience to share, in the hope of activating change,” she said.

“Talking about my stroke is still very raw but being able to share the story with people is amazing.”

Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability. In 2017, there will be almost 56,000 new and recurrent strokes – that is one stroke every nine minutes.

The community forum will include information on identifying a stroke, along with treatments and recovery education from the Westmead Stroke Unit team.

Refreshments will be provided at 6pm and a gold coin donation would be appreciated.

To book your free seat to the forum, call 8890 7983

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