Amber was 19 and had just finished her first year at university when her life was turned upside down. “I noticed a numbness and I had a massive stroke”, Amber describes. "My MRI showed a massive hole in my brain. My speech gone, my walking gone". To save her life, she was put into a coma and had to have part of her skull removed to relieve the swelling on her brain.
When she woke up she couldn't walk or talk and the doctors told her that she was likely to be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. But Amber was determined to prove her doctors wrong. She wouldn't accept that her condition was permanent. “I'm stubborn. I'm positive and determined, I can do it”.
Amber's recovery is ongoing but thanks to her incredible strength and perseverance she has learnt how to walk and talk again. "My first words were 'hello' and 'psychology' and in the earlier stages I could sing 'somewhere over the rainbow'." She suffers from aphasia, a communication problem, but does not let this stop her from enjoying life.
After just a year of rehabilitation she began volunteering for the Stroke Association, “I think it helped me focus and it’s given me my sanity”. Despite suffering from aphasia, she regularly gives talks in schools, holds blood pressure events, and is a great support to other stroke survivors.
Amber has also set up a young brain injury group on Facebook. It offers young stroke survivors a chance to chat and share their own experiences and recovery journeys.
Tara from the Stroke Association says "I'm amazed by Amber's courage and the way she's overcome it. It hasn't affected her character and her strength and her motivation to push herself on".