Live a full life af­ter a stroke, sur­vivor says

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SARAH ROBERTS

Maria Freda­tovich knows about de­fy­ing the odds.

She had a stroke at 13 years old and be­came paral­ysed down the right side of her body with vi­sion loss in one eye.

Her world changed. Freda­tovich went from be­ing a sporty teenager to hav­ing to re­learn how to walk and do the sim­plest things, like ty­ing her hair.

She was determined to get back to a ‘‘nor­mal’’ life.

Freda­tovich spent eight months in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at Wil­son Home on the North Shore.

Later, she went back to Ba­radene Col­lege to fin­ish her ed­u­ca­tion.

The now 33-year-old says she al­ways knew she was ‘‘ the only per­son who could choose what hap­pened in my life’’.

She has spent a year in the United King­dom, trav­elled all over Europe, and has even had a go at sky­div­ing and white­wa­ter raft­ing.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Nel­son res­i­dent had her stroke which was a re­sult of an op­er­a­tion to stop her epilepsy, and she still lives with the af­ter­math of the event. Her right side is weak­ened, so do­ing daily ex­er­cises is vi­tal for her mus­cle strength.

She had to re­learn to write with her left hand and tie her shoe laces.

Freda­tovich has started the Young Stroke Thrivers Foun­da­tion for other young stroke sur­vivors seek­ing out sup­port.

She came up with the idea when a 12-year-old stroke sur­vivor got in touch with her for ad­vice.

Freda­tovich raised funds for the girl to go on a hol­i­day with her fam­ily.

‘‘Grow­ing up I never had peo­ple I could look to who were of sim­i­lar age to me as men­tors and I wanted her to have some­one,’’ Freda­tovich says.

The trust’s launch will be held at her par­ents’ Hen­der­son func­tion cen­tre. ‘‘I want to chal­lenge oth­ers to give things a go and not muse they can’t do things in life,’’ she says.

The aim of the trust is to help other young stroke sur­vivors re­alise their full po­ten­tial.

Young Stroke Thrivers will be launched at Lang­tons on Lin­coln, 130 Lin­coln Rd from 11am to 3pm on July 19. Lunch will be pro­vided, with a cash bar avail­able.

Phone 021 209 2964 or email info@youngstrokethrivers.org.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

Go to cen­tral­leader. co.nz to see Maria Freda­tovich do­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ex­er­cises.

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