“My name is Bailey and I am 15 years old; when I was three years old I had a stroke. Let’s jump back to 2005, I was just three and my Mum and Dad had just got married. Two weeks after they got married we went on their honemoon which doubled as a family holiday, we went to Spain.
One day whilst on my Mum and Dads honeymoon, I started to feel tired and unable to walk. Suddenly, the right side of my face started to drop, I had lost all movement and then I passed out.
After a few torturous days, I was flown over to Great Ormand Street hospital, where my family finally found out that I had, had a stroke. I hardly remember anything from this horrible time. However, I look back on photos and hear stories and I have flash backs to certain thing.
I am now 15 years old, and I have had my personal struggles (don’t get me wrong!) But I will never let this disability define me. Growing up, I did not fully understand what had happened to me. In school, I was clueless to why I could not run as fast as everyone else, or why I had to wear an arm and leg lycra sock. Due to this confusion, I beat myself up everyday because of the stroke. I hated myself and envied all the children who I would rather be.
When I got into secondary school, I had developed some anxiety and found it difficult to interact and find new friends. I isolated myself, I did not realise that there are people who understand. That’s when I turned to my school pastoral team and to Different Strokes.
Once I knew that I was not alone, I came out of my shell, and became my own person and would not let anything get in my way. Now I am accepting myself and the stroke, and I try to think positive about the whole situation. And yes, I did have a stroke, but why be sad about it when I should be working towards helping other children, who are going through the same thing as me, to accept themselves and to let them know they are not alone.”