People often tell Amy Jennings she is too young to have suffered a stroke.
The Port Macquarie resident was 32-years-old in 2013 when her life changed forever.
She wants people to know strokes don't discriminate and they can strike at any age.
Monday, August 8 marked the start of Stoke Week, an opportunity to raise awareness of stroke and the role of the Stroke Foundation in Australia.
In 2013 Amy was working as an accountant and was set to become partner at the Forster/Tuncurry practice.
However, all that changed when an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) resulted in a life-threatening brain hemorrhage.
Amy was transported to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and underwent surgery to remove the AVM, once the swelling on her brain reduced.
She learnt how to write, speak and understand numbers during intensive rehabilitation, which lasted a year.
"It was like I was in a foreign country where I didn't know the language," she said.
While in rehabilitation, Amy was diagnosed with aphasia, which is a language difficulty caused by damage to the brain.
The condition was described to Amy as a loss of language, not of intelligence.
Aphasia may result in the loss of ability to speak, or understand spoken or written languages.
According to Edith Cowan University, there are over 140,000 Australians effected by aphasia.
Amy is urging people to be more understanding of her condition.
"Taking the time to understand, don't discriminate.. be kind and listen," she said.
"Bear with me.
"I can communicate ok, but it takes me time to say what I'm going to say."
Amy set up the Port Macquarie Stroke Recovery Club in 2018.
The group meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 10am until 12pm.
Amy said it's been vital.
"Just having people around me to listen, understand and have a chat," she said.
For more information about the club, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy enjoys pilates and attends Bodiline Yoga & Pilates five days per week.
"It's a big part of my life now," she said.
Pilates instructor Kelly Wilson said it's been great to have Amy join the community.
The studio is supporting Stroke Week by holding fundraisers.
For more information, or to make a donation please visit bodilinepilates.com.au
The Stroke Foundation recommends the F.A.S.T. test as an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke.
For more information about strokes, people can visit strokefoundation.org.au
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