Gateshead stroke survivor Denise Groom, 58, is one of the hundreds of people living with communication difficulties after a stroke.
Denise had a severe stroke during back surgery in September 2013. She was in Queen Elizabeth Hospital for three weeks, before returning home with limited communication. She struggled with stuttering when she spoke and had trouble writing and spelling. Before her stroke, Denise was a keen writer of children’s stories, often reading her own original tales to her nephews and young family members. However after her stroke, she found herself writing back to front, also known as mirror writing.
Denise was supported by the Stroke Association’s Communication Support Service, which gave her the confidence to begin writing again. As her writing skills returned, Denise wrote five short children’s stories, which were combined with five tales written before her stroke and published in her very first book, Trotters Tales: A Dream Come True.
Denise said: “When I first came out of hospital I sat at home and was very apprehensive about attending the Communication Support Group. However, we soon became like a little family and being around others in a similar situation really helped to build my confidence. When I took my stories in to share with the group, they were so positive it encouraged me to write again.”
The Stroke Association’s Lost for Words campaign aims to raise awareness of the challenges stroke survivors with communication difficulties can face, and help and support available.
Peter Moore, Regional Director at the Stroke Association, said: “After a stroke, around one in three people like Denise have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. After being supported by our Gateshead service, Denise has gone from strength to strength and we’re all so proud of her recovery.”
More 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.
A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is one of the largest causes of disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.
Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and together we can conquer stroke. We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at www.stroke.org.uk