Belfast mum Lisa Lecky who suffered stroke while pregnant in research plea
A mother who had a life-changing stroke while pregnant with her second child has described her battle to learn how to walk again while caring for her newborn and toddler.
Lisa Lecky (40) was in her tenth week of pregnancy when she collapsed while out jogging.
Life for the mum-of-two changed forever in March 2015 when she woke up in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast two weeks after suffering a stroke.
Lisa, who lives in Belfast with her partner Adam and children Conor (3) and Orla (2), had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm - a bleed on her brain - which caused the stroke.
It would be a month before Lisa could see and hold Conor again as she struggled to recover from the haemorrhage.
After a month, Lisa was moved to the brain injury unit at Musgrave Park Hospital where she stayed for a further five months, undergoing treatment and rehabiliation. She was only able to leave just before Orla was born.
Lisa had to learn to walk again but she wasn't able to attempt walking for over a year and instead had to use a wheelchair.
Today, the Belfast mum can walk short distances with the help of a leg splint and walking stick, but her left arm is permanently paralysed.
While in Musgrave Park Hospital, Lisa was put in touch with Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke charity and began attending the Belfast Young Stroke Activity Group where she completed the Post Rehabilitation Exercise Programme (PREP).
Lisa said: "I got so much out of PREP. I just loved it. I loved seeing how much other people improved during the programme, no matter what age they were. Everyone is so inspiring and supportive. The motivation and encouragement I get from the Belfast Young Stroke Activity Group members has played a huge part in my recovery."
Life is now returning to what Lisa describes as a "new normal" for her and Adam. They have just moved back to their own home and Conor has started nursery school, while Lisa recently returned to work part-time.
Lisa's next goal is to drive again and her friends at the Young Stroke Activity Group are encouraging her.
She fully supports funding research and believes it is essential to give people like her hope.
Lisa spoke about her recovery as part of the Chest, Heart and Stroke Christmas gift appeal.
"I was so young when I had my stroke and I worry things will become much more difficult for me living with my disabilities as I get older," she said.
"There are so many people having strokes at young ages and even more people are living longer with the devastating effects of stroke. That's why we all need to support research.
"It can help save lives, as well as improving the lives of people who have suffered strokes, heart disease or respiratory illnesses.
"For people like me, any research that could help in the future would be incredible."