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Young Elgin mum tells of recovery journey after suffering stroke at wedding ceilidh aged just 29

By Lorna Thompson

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AN ELGIN mum has told how she thought she would die after suffering a stroke on a wedding dancefloor aged just 29.

Paula Leask, now 35, suffered a stroke while ceilidh dancing with her husband at a friend's wedding six years ago.

As a young mother of a two-year-old, the stroke had a devastating impact on every aspect of her life.

She has told of her slow recovery and the lifeline support she received from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) in an emotional video, which has been released as part of the charity's Christmas appeal.

Paula said: "One minute I was ceilidh dancing at a friend's wedding. The next I was on the floor.

"At the hospital, my husband, William, kissed me goodbye as the doctors and nurses took me away to treat me. I told William, 'I love you'. And I said tell our little boy, William, how much mummy loves him.

"I thought I was going to die. My husband did not know if this was the last time he would see me alive.

"When I woke up the next day, they told me I'd had a stroke. My right arm and leg weren't working and I couldn't walk.

"I had little hope for the future."

Paula said being unable to pick up and hug her little boy broke her heart.

The couple's plans to have another child and to celebrate Paula's 30th birthday with a cruise holiday had to be put on hold.

Paula Leask, from Elgin, with husband William and their two children, William and Erica.
Paula Leask, from Elgin, with husband William and their two children, William and Erica.

The mum added: "Every day I asked the doctors if I would walk again, and they would say the same thing to me, 'We don't know'.

"I cried all the time. I felt guilty for surviving and felt so hopeless."

Paula thanked the charity for helping her "back on her feet".

Happily, the couple have since become parents again to a little girl, Erica, who is now three.

She said: "My stroke nurse, Lyndsey, helped me see that I could find my happy again. This was the lifeline I needed to help me move forward in my recovery.

"There was a time when I could never have imagined I would be here to celebrate another Christmas with the people I love."

Paula has since gone on to work for the charity which helped her family so much.

Urging members of the public to keep up vital support, she said: "As a family, we don't need to imagine the help and support that CHSS gives to thousands of stroke survivors every year as we have lived through it.

"Because of you, I am able to celebrate Christmas with my family – and that means everything to me."

To watch Paula's video go to https://we.tl/t-Q3XnRukRrQ.

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