A young stroke survivor and mother-of-two has spoken of her trauma and how her positive mindset has remained despite everything she has been through.

Liz, 36, from Colchester, is a mum-of-two who believes the stroke she suffered at the age of 25 was a message from her body, after a series of psychological traumas and “horrendous” sexual abuse when she was younger.

The young mum had just moved away with her children, aged three and six at the time, to what she called her “safe house” after leaving a violent relationship.

She had just got back from the school run when she felt a click in her neck whilst tidying and the last thing she remembers was “screaming in agony” as she managed to call herself an ambulance.

Liz said: “It was scary and I was in excruciating pain, I thought labour was bad until then.”

She woke up two weeks later on a life support machine, half paralysed and with half of her skull removed.

For the next six months she lived with half a skull until she had a titanium plate fitted to protect her brain.

Liz pushed herself to walk just a few months after her stroke and now, 11 years on, hopes to help families who are affected by disabilities and have been through similar things to her.

She feels that there isn’t enough support for young carers especially, and many don’t know where to turn to.

She said: “As a family unit you need support together.

“My daughters have only had me to depend on and I always say while there’s air in my lungs, I will always be the best mum I can be.

“I now want to make a difference using what I’ve been through to help.”

Recovering - Liz after her stroke

Recovering - Liz after her stroke


Her daughter, who is 14, has been diagnosed with a disability and continues to try every day in school and work hard.

Her other daughter, now 17, was a young carer for Liz. She now goes to college and Liz expressed how proud she is of both of her daughters who remain so strong and positive.

Liz was supported by Home-Start Colchester and hopes to one day work with them or be a part of supporting other families.

Her goal is to eventually set up a drop-in support group to allow people who are struggling to seek help and advice.

She said: “I only know one other mum that is a young stroke survivor, I feel that many don’t get the help they need.

“I want people to know they have a place to go to get support as I know many don’t know where to go.”


Grinning - before her stroke at aged 25

Grinning - before her stroke at aged 25


Liz also worked with life coach Chris Freer, the founder of Maldon business Upbeat Life to help get her life back on track.

She said: “Chris was amazing and within the first session the penny dropped and everything I’d been through made sense.

“Things I didn’t understand held me back and I realised I can do these things and my disability doesn’t have to define me.

“It’s made a major difference and I know I can still live the life I want to live.

“Chris has opened up a whole new world, showing me that I’m not to blame and I no longer need to be compliant – I’m in control of my life and no-one should suffer like I did.”

“I’m flying now.”

Liz is now very optimistic for her future and keeps a positive outlook on life using what she learnt during the life coaching.