A Bury St Edmunds mum who was left paralysed after suffering a stroke hopes to help other survivors after setting up a new support group.
Julie Bentley, 46, was completely paralysed down the left side of her body and spent a gruelling six months in hospital for rehabilitation.
After receiving vital support from the Stroke Association, she has helped set up a new social support group to help other young survivors on the road to recovery.
The mum of five, who also has MS, said: “It’s a very lonely dark place and an emotional rollercoaster after having a stroke but there is support out there.
“I received support from the Stroke Association and at the time you just need someone to talk to. No one understands a stroke survivor like a stroke survivor.”
Ms Bentley’s suffered her stroke in 2011 after suffering from a severe headache for several days and collapsing at home.
She said: “The next thing I remember is waking up in the intensive care unit six weeks later. I was then in hospital for six months - I had to learn to do everything myself again. I’ve still got left side paralysis. I can move my left side but can’t pick up a drink for example.
“It takes a life time to get over having a stroke - it’s like teaching yourself to ride a bike, do gymnastics and learning a foreign language all at the same time. You’ve got so much to think about.”
She has set up the support group, Stroke Working Age Suffolk, with mum of four Lisa King, of Acton, who suffered a stroke in March 2014.
Ms Bentley added: “I feel it’s now time that I give something back, to be there for other stroke survivors.
“Our group is in its infancy so we’re hoping to grow and encourage new members to come along, as well as invite volunteers to get involved.”
It meets on the first Friday of the month from 11am to 1pm at the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Centre, at Hillside Business Park, in Kempson Way, Bury.