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'It doesn't matter how young or fit you are' - warning from survivor who had stroke at 19

PUBLISHED: 06:38 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:58 04 October 2019

Lily Aldis, who suffered a stroke, has joined the Stroke Association's Rebuilding Lives appeal. Photo: Antony Kelly

Lily Aldis, who suffered a stroke, has joined the Stroke Association's Rebuilding Lives appeal. Photo: Antony Kelly

Archant Norfolk 2018

A young woman who suffered a stroke at 19 says she hopes to use her story to remind people that the condition can strike at any age.

Lily Aldis, who suffered a stroke, has joined the Stroke Association's Rebuilding Lives appeal. Photo: Antony KellyLily Aldis, who suffered a stroke, has joined the Stroke Association's Rebuilding Lives appeal. Photo: Antony Kelly

It was just days before receiving her A-level results that Lily Aldis, from Long Stratton, had the stroke three years ago.

In her early teens she had been diagnosed with a condition which caused her blood to be sticky, but said she didn't remember any clear symptoms in the build-up to the stroke.

"They think it happened overnight," she said. "I can't remember having any symptoms.

"I was constantly tired all the time, I could sleep for 12 hours and more, but I thought it was exam stress."

Miss Aldis, who said she put previous moments of poor balance down to clumsiness, said the diagnosis of a stroke was initially overwhelming.

"It came as a shock because I wasn't expecting it," she said. "I took it badly, I felt a bit useless and worthless, like 'why did this happen to me'.

"It took a few days to get my head around it, but afterwards I felt like a bit of a burden to my family and friends, and I lost a bit of confidence.

"But I have slowly started to accept it and now want to raise awareness."

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Today, she works at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and is teaming up with the Stroke Association as part of its Rebuilding Lives campaign, which looks at the real stories of survivors.

In some areas of her life impacts of the stroke remain, including extreme tiredness while at work.

The Norwich City season ticket holder, who used to play for the club's training academy, is also no longer able to play contact sports because she is on blood thinners.

"Strokes can happy at any age," she said. "I'm trying to reach out to people my age because it's not just those in their 70s and 80s who have a stroke. You're never too young.

"It doesn't matter what age you are, how fit you are, it can happen to anyone."

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