Emneth mum who suffered a stroke at the age of 30 raising funds to help others

Joanne Wharf and her daughter, Ella. Picture: Stroke Association

Joanne Wharf and her daughter, Ella. Picture: Stroke Association - Credit: Archant

A young mum who suffered a stroke at the age of just 30 is raising funds to help fellow sufferers.

Joanne Wharf, now 33, was driving her six-year-old daughter Ella home from school one day in 2015, when she suddenly lost the ability to talk and move the right side of her body.

Joanne, from Emneth, was six months pregnant at the time. She managed to pull the car to the side of the road, and Ella called for help.

'Ella was so brave,' she said. 'I remember hearing her speak to my mum on the phone, saying that I needed an ambulance. I could hear my mum asking Ella where we were parked.

'Ella had no idea where we were, or how to explain it to the ambulance crew. I don't know how, but I managed to get my left foot on the accelerator to move the car forward to a road sign ahead. Ella couldn't read at the time, but she was able to spell out the road sign to help the paramedics find us.'

Thanks to the Ella's quick thinking, her mum has made a good recovery, and she now has a two-year-old brother.

Joanne said: 'I consider myself so lucky, and cannot thank my amazing family for all they've done. The stroke has affected my short and long-term memory. I have very few memories of Ella before my stroke which makes me sad. I can also find myself in moments where I completely forget where I am, what I'm doing or even my family members' names. It can be really scary at times.

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'After my stroke, I was embarrassed about telling people what had happened. But now I'm really passionate about raising awareness that a stroke can happen to anyone at any age.'

This year, Joanne is taking on a series of fundraising challenges to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association.

'Recently, I organised a week where the kids had to pick the clothes I wore every day,' she said. 'It proved to be quite an amusing fundraiser, especially when I turned up to the kid's school in a Halloween costume. I raised over £200 for the Stroke Association, which I'm really pleased about.

'I chose to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association to help support other families who have also been affected by stroke. I'm already planning my next fundraiser.'

George Burroughs, Community and Events Fundraising Manager at the Stroke Association, said: 'With more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year, it's vital we have people like Joanne and her family to help raise vital funds. We're incredibly grateful to her for fundraising for us; the money raised will go a long way in helping to support others who are living with the effects of stroke, as well as their families and carers.'

The Stroke Association provides a stroke recovery and a stroke prevention service in West Norfolk. To sponsor Joanne, click here.

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