Sarah Scott was a healthy teenager with a lively social life and dreams of becoming a biomedical scientist. Like many others, she never expected that she would have to overcome the effects of a stroke at such a young age.
But ten years ago, one morning changed her life forever.
Sarah, who was just 18 at the time, was reading aloud in her English Literature class at sixth form when she suddenly began to feel unwell. As it was the first lesson in the morning, Sarah assumed she was tired from the night before.
Luckily, some of her fellow students recognised the signs of stroke and raised the alarm. Sarah was rushed to hospital where doctors confirmed that the stroke was caused by a PFO, a hole in the heart.
Sarah spent five months in hospital and rehabilitation, learning how to do the most basic of tasks again. She couldn't walk, talk, swallow, read or write, she had visual impairments and struggled with chronic fatigue.
Sarah said: "All of my friends went to University and I felt very isolated. I couldn't speak, read or write. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life."
Almost a decade on, 28-year old Sarah works as a scientist testing cancer treatments, but she's still living with the ongoing effects of her brain injury, including expressive aphasia.
Understandably, her communication problems have presented many challenges within her life, most notably during her time at school and her career since.
But advancements in technology have provided a means by which she communicate more clearly.
Smart technology is commonplace these days, and Sarah has found applications such as voice recognition and assistants invaluable throughout her recovery.
She said: "Technology has helped me to be independent although I have aphasia.
"It really helps me to communicate because reading and writing is very difficult for me, and I still find it helpful in situations when I need to understand long texts and emails and keep in touch with my friends and family.”
Following her brain injury, Sarah now helps to support fellow young stroke survivors in her local community and regularly vlogs about her experience in the hope to raise awareness.
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