"My family and I were told that was it: I was written off - but look at me now!"

Karen’s world fell apart when she had a stroke caused by a massive brain haemorrhage. Left barely able to speak, she was confined to a wheelchair and became a complete shadow of the outgoing, popular young woman she had been. This is her story in her own words.

I spent two years in rehabilitation before being transferred to Sue Ryder Cuerden Hall. Before I arrived, it was thought nothing more could be done for me.

I couldn’t bear my own weight, could swallow food, but staff had to give me fluids through a tube in my stomach and I was only able to say the words 'yes'or 'no'. It was very frustrating.

Straight away, I was given an electric wheelchair to replace my manual chair, which gave me some much-needed freedom. And the staff at Cuerden Hall arranged for me to see a speech and language therapist, and a physiotherapist.

Getting my life back

With a tremendous amount of hard work, my communication has improved and I now enjoy nothing better than a good gossip. I’ll happily talk to anyone, and show them photos of my trips and holidays.

My determination to get my life back has helped me learn to walk again using a device called a stimulator, which sends electric impulses to muscles in my legs to help them move.

My family and I were told that was it: I was written off. But look at me now.

Thanks to the support of my family, my speech therapist, physiotherapist, and all the staff and volunteers at Sue Ryder, plus a lot of my own hard work and determination, I’m now living in a supported-living complex. Carers come four times a day to support me, but aside from that I’m completely independent.

I miss everyone at Cuerden Hall but it’s the best decision I ever made.

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