A STROKE survivor from Basingstoke is calling for more people to be aware of the signs of the illness and the recovery process.

Information from the Stroke Association shows that 45 per cent of 1,139 respondents of the group's April survey who know a stroke survivor admitted they are struggling to support them to make the best possible recovery.

Ellis Elliott, 27, was undergoing open heart surgery to repair a faulty valve when she had a stroke in April 2017.

It left her with temporary paralysis in her right arm and aphasia, a language disorder caused by damage to the area of the brain that controls speech, reading and writing.

Two years on, she is making a good recovery and is a project manager at the Science Technology Facilities Council at Harwell, Oxfordshire.

Ellis believes more people need to know that a stroke is a brain injury and that survivors need emotional support as they rebuild their lives.

Ellis said: “There was a rocky patch in some of my friendships. Some of my friends didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know how to reach out to them.

“They could see that I was a bit different. I was quite slurred with my speech and were being extra careful with me.

“They didn’t know what I would be like. They didn’t know if I would understand them or be able to talk properly.

“They were quite scared to ask awkward questions in case they said something wrong. I had to say just treat me as before.

“If you know someone who has had a stroke, just say to them ‘tell me how they can help’. You often can’t do anything physically to help, but just being there is important.”

Ellis added: “When you’ve had a stroke you’re trying to regain your old self and get to know your brain again. You go through a grieving process.

“You might feel really positive one week and down the next. People need to understand that.”

The charity has recently launched its newest campaign, Rebuilding Lives, to help stroke survivors in their recovery.

For more information about Rebuilding Lives or strokes, go to stroke.org.uk/rebuildinglives.