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Action for Brain Injury Week 2018: Norwich woman had stroke aged just 20

Mandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20. . Photo: Headway Norfolk and Waveney

Mandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20. . Photo: Headway Norfolk and Waveney

Headway Norfolk and Waveney

When Mandy Hathway was just 20 years old, she suffered an uncommon type of stroke which left her with a brain injury and facing serious surgery.

Mandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20.  Pictured with husband Ben. Photo: Headway Norfolk and WaveneyMandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20. Pictured with husband Ben. Photo: Headway Norfolk and Waveney

Now, as part of Action for Brain Injury Week, she has spoken out on how stroke does not just happen later in life the impact it has had on her.

It was February 14, 1994, when Mandy had a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage.

Mandy, now 44, from Norwich said: “I thought strokes only happen to old people. They do, but it also happened to me at just 20 years old. Whilst I may look fine, and mostly I am, brain injury change my life and left me with a number of hidden disabilities.”

Due to a left-sided hemianopia which affects her eyesight Mandy can never drive again, which she described as “one of [her] biggest hurdles to overcome”.

Mandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20.  Pictured with husband Ben and children Ethan and Harriet. Photo: Headway Norfolk and WaveneyMandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20. Pictured with husband Ben and children Ethan and Harriet. Photo: Headway Norfolk and Waveney

But now, she is working as a support worker with charity Headway Norfolk and Waveney and has drawn on her experiences to develop a memory tool kit to help others.

She said: “My lightbulb moment came when I found my local Headway group last year for whom I now work as a support worker. Suddenly everything made sense and lots of missing pieces slotted into place. I’m living life to the full and I couldn’t be happier.”

She added: “I have a wonderful husband and lovely children who never knew the old me, so they don’t know any difference. The same goes for many of my family and friends, they accept me for who I am regardless.

“Nearly 25 years on I’ve learnt how best to deal with my difficulties and to accept the person I am now.

Mandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20.  Pictured with husband Ben. Photo: Headway Norfolk and WaveneyMandy Hathway suffered a stroke aged just 20. Pictured with husband Ben. Photo: Headway Norfolk and Waveney

• May 14 - 20 is Action for Brain Injury Week. Throughout the week a film exhibition put together by clients of Headway Norfolk and Waveney will be on show at Castle Mall. Find them on the second floor, near Boots or visit www.headway-nw.org.uk for more information.

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