WHEN Jennifer Tebb noticed her speech was a little slurred, she assumed it was because of the type 1 diabetes she suffers from.
But a few days later she was given the shocking news that she had in fact suffered a stroke – at the age of just 21.
Doctors don’t yet know why she had a stroke, but she is still coming to terms with the experience.
“It’s been horrible,” she said.
“It’s still difficult for me to understand that I’ve had a stroke, as it is not something you’d ever expect to happen to yourself at just 21.
“It was the worst experience of my life so far and incredibly scary. My emotions have been up and down and the concept is really difficult to get my head around.”
Jennifer, from Ossett, near Wakefield, noticed earlier this month that her speech was slurred, but as she needs regular insulin injections for her diabetes, thought it was linked to that.
“The next day I was fine, but then I thought it was coming on again in the evening and it went into the next day.
“That evening, I noticed my face had drooped on one side. I sounded drunk, basically.
“I couldn’t smile on one side. One side was smiling and one side, I couldn’t move. It was very scary.”
After she visited her GP the following day, Jennifer was sent straight to A&E at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and then on to the specialist Stroke Unit.
Ironically she had been working at the hospital as a healthcare assistant before starting a nursing degree next month.
“I was seen by a consultant that night who said they thought it was stroke but only a small one.
“It took a few days for everything to be confirmed.”
Jennifer was in hospital for several days having tests and will undergo more checks to find out the cause.
Medics don’t know whether the stroke was linked to her diabetes, or have suggested it could have been linked to taking the combined Pill, but they don’t yet know.
She has been put on medication to prevent similar issues and is recovering at the home she shares with boyfriend Joshua Payne, and focusing on starting her nursing course.
“It had not affected my mobility luckily,” Jennifer said.
“My speech was restored within a week after leaving hospital, but it was just hard to get my head around it at first - I was upset a lot.
“The only history of stroke in my family was my great grandma and she was elderly when she had it, so it was never something I thought would happen to me.
“I have youth on my side so luckily the recovery has been quicker than if I had been elderly.”
Jennifer’s experience has inspired one of her best friends to join a fun run in aid of the Stroke Association in Leeds today.
Claire Payne will tackle the 5km event at Roundhay Park and has already raised over £500.
The 21-year-old said: “Jennie is such a bubbly, outgoing character and is always making others smile
“Seeing her affected by the stroke and making such a remarkable recovery was my inspiration to sign up for the run.
“The greatest motivation to ensure I don’t give up throughout my training and on the day itself, is knowing that nothing compares to what Jennie has been through.”
Support Claire’s fundraising via www.justgiving.com/claire-payne2014.
* Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain.
In Yorkshire and Humberside, there are more than 10,600 strokes each year and over 112,300 people living with the effects of stroke.
Mahalia France-Mir, regional fundraiser at the Stroke Association, said: “With around 152,000 strokes a year in the UK – that’s around one every three and a half minutes - it is vital that we have people like Claire who can raise funds for people affected by stroke. We’re really grateful to her for taking on this rewarding challenge.”