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Leicester stroke survivor triumphs over tragedy and wins national award

Press Release   •   Nov 18, 2016 12:56 GMT

A three-time stroke survivor has been presented with an Award for Volunteering, sponsored by LighterLife, at the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards.

Julie Monk, 49, from Leicester, received her award from Denise Welch and Shelley King, for her dedication to transforming the lives of people affected by stroke.

The charity’s star-studded ceremony, sponsored by the TONI&GUY Charitable Foundation, NEXT plc and Irwin Mitchell, was held at the London’s Dorchester Hotel on 16 November.

Julie, who has a medical condition which puts her at risk of increased blood clots, was struck by her third stroke when she was just 34 years old, on the day of her son’s eighth birthday, in 2002. The stroke, which occurred during a cardiac procedure, left Julie with no feeling on her left side and no speech.

Julie, who woke up for four days after the procedure, said, “I was so scared as I couldn't communicate with anyone around me. I felt as if I was shut out from the surrounding world which seemed to be continuing at a pace I could not keep up with.”

Julie has subsequently had numerous mini-strokes. Her blood condition can cause Julie to develop small clots, without warning and she is at risk of another major stroke at any time.

Julie still experiences numbness, loss of movement in her lower left arm, no feeling in her left leg and emotional difficulties. She also has chronic fatigue and her memory remains deeply affected.

Julie was housebound for six years after her third stroke, but things began to change when she discovered that the Stroke Association was opening a Voluntary Support Group her local area. Julie went along to the first meeting of the 4Ward Strokes support group and didn’t look back. She says ‘I attended the first meeting and have not looked back since.’ Putting her significant health conditions to one side Julie has spent the majority of the last eight years as the support group’s chairperson. After a stroke around one in three survivors have difficulty speaking and understanding, which can be terrifying and isolating. But with the Stroke Association’s support, people, like Julie, can find new ways to communicate.

Julie said, “Prior to attending the group I was very quiet and withdrawn, but I now take on my role as Chairperson to the best of my ability. I would never have thought that I would have the courage to talk in front of a group and to 'Chair' committee meetings. The confidence the Stroke Association has helped me gain is something that I will forever be in their debt for All I ever want to do is support others in my situation, as I know what it feels like.”

Tina Hughes, Volunteer Manager at The Stroke Association, who nominated Julie said, “I am truly astounded at Julie’s humility, her loyalty and the courage she shows on a daily basis to help others affected by stroke.

“She has dedicated her life to supporting others in her situation and is one of the most inspiring people I know. I am very pleased her efforts have been recognised as she truly embodies what the Life After Stroke Awards stands for.”

To find out more about the Life after Stroke Awards please visit www.stroke.org.uk/lasa

  • 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 the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.
  • The 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
  • Christmas is the loneliest time to be lost for words. After a stroke, around one in three survivors have difficulty speaking and understanding, which can be terrifying and isolating. But with the Stroke Association’s support, people can find new ways to communicate. Find out how you can help at www.stroke.org.uk/lostforwords or search for #lostforwords
  • The 2016 Life After Stroke Awards are sponsored by TONI &GUY Charitable Foundation. More information can be found at: www.toniandguyfoundation.org.uk
  • Irwin Mitchell is over 100 years old and is one of the largest law firms in the UK. There are offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough (Consulting Office), Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton. Irwin Mitchell has also completed the acquisitions of Specialist Personal Injury firm MPH Solicitors and private wealth firm Berkeley Law in the past two years. For more information visit www.irwinmitchell.com
  • Onecom is the UK’s leading business to business mobile phone provider and manages more than 335,000 connections throughout the UK. Onecom specialises in tailored fixed line and mobile solutions for businesses ranging from SMEs to large corporates. Onecom is headquartered in Whiteley, Hampshire, and also has offices in London, Cambridge, Shoeburyness, Cardiff, Southampton, Plymouth, Leeds, Telford, Norwich and Brighton. Find out more at www.onecom.co.uk
  • LighterLife combines a choice of nutritious plans for fast, effective weight loss.
  • Founded in 1989, LighterLife is the result of real experiences of overeating and obesity. Compliant with the recommendations of NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), the programme offers a choice of four plans –Totally Different, Total, Lite and Fast. For more information, visit LighterLife.com.