RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - Every year about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke, and one Henrico woman is sharing her story to raise awareness that it can happen to anyone at anytime.
Eleven years ago at age 19 and in peak health, Ashley Slate suffered a stroke. "All of a sudden I just fell on the floor," she describes the moment her life changed forever. "My speech did go out a little bit, but I had no idea it was coming on."
Slate had a blood clot on the right side of her brain. Six months later, she had what's known as a mini-stroke. "My face was sloped and everything. I was scared I would never feel again on my left side."
It took about a month of rehab to recover but upwards of six years for Slate to come to grips with what happened. "I'm very, very blessed and very, very thankful 'cause it could have gone worse."
Growing up she'd heard that her grandfather had a stroke at age 49 but never made the connection that she could too. Slate makes it a point now to talk with teens about knowing their family history.
Even before her stroke, Slate ate well and exercised, so she knows people of all ages have to do even more. "Take your health seriously. Go and get tested. Don't just go on a yearly checkup. Get your heart tested."
Do you know the signs of a stroke? The American Heart Association says keep track of the symptoms with the word fast:
F = Facial drooping
A = Arm weakness
S = Speech difficulty
T = Time to call 911 if you have any of these symptoms
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