Stroke support group launched in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 September 2011

Sarah and Jolie Scott

Sarah and Jolie Scott

AGED 18, Sarah Scott was like any teenage girl.

Stroke facts

Each year more than 130,000 people in England and Wales have a stroke. About 10,000 of these are under retirement age.

Stroke accounts for around 53,000 deaths each year in the UK.

Stroke is the third most common cause of death in England and Wales, after heart disease and cancer.

Stroke accounts for 9 per cent of all deaths in men and 13 per cent of deaths in women in the UK.

At least 450,000 people are severely disabled as a result of stroke in England.

Stroke costs the economy an estimated £8 billion per year in England alone and it is likely that it costs proportionate amounts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Stroke patients occupy around 20 per cent of all acute hospital beds and 25 per cent of long term beds.

Stroke units save lives: for stroke patients general wards have a 14 per cent to 25 per cent higher mortality rate than stroke units

The Oaklands youngster was at Richard Hale School’s sixth-form, working part-time at Waitrose in WGC, and was planning a future at Swansea University to read biology.

Then one day in May 2009, reading aloud during an English class, Sarah suffered a stroke.

The prompt action by her classmates and teachers probably saved her life.

For the next few months Sarah was in hospital and rehab. She was paralysed down the right-hand side, couldn’t swallow or speak and was fed by tube.

Sarah was moved to the stroke unit at the QE2, then on to Danesbury QVM in Welwyn.

Some two years and a few months later Sarah, who has been nominated to carry the Olympic Torch, in Hertfordshire, has made quite a remarkable recovery and has launched a group at the Vineyard Barn, in WGC, for nearby working-age residents who have also had a brain injury.

Her mum Joanie, of Turpins Chase, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times that although Sarah has recovered from most of the physical symptoms of the stroke, she suffers from a condition which affects her speaking, reading and writing, and would love to meet similar people around Hertfordshire.

“The closest support group to here is in London, but it has been a massive benefit for Sarah, so it would be ideal if we could find more people around here to join our new group; it will just be a simple, informal coffee morning, but it’s great for all those who go as it’s common to feel isolated and depressed after a brain injury,” said Joanie.

“Sarah has aphasia, a condition that affects about 250,000 people in the UK, which means that the communication area of the brain has been damaged, affecting the ability to use speech, reading, writing and numbers.

“Every 11 minutes in the UK, three people will have a stroke and one of those will have aphasia.

“Since the stroke, Sarah has returned to work part-time at Waitrose and also receives speech therapy at the QE2,” added Joanie.

“She has also taken up horse riding at Digswell Riding for the Disabled, helping to stimulate her speech and help improve her co-ordination. She helps to raise awareness of stroke in younger people.

“She has been shortlisted to carry the Olympic Torch in Hertfordshire and should hear in November whether she has been chosen to take part.

“She has made a series of YouTube videos about her stroke recovery, which have attracted over 100,000 views and hundreds of comments from all over the world (Google ‘Sarah Scott Stroke’ to find them online).”

Sarah’s Stroke and Communication Group, which has been set up with the help of the Stroke Association and is also open to people with communication problems, will meet on the first Thursday of every month between 11am and 1pm. Friends and carers are welcome.

The group is funded by donations. If you can add your support or would like more information about the group call Joanie on 01438 717805.

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