Rebecca Carbone never imagined she would be able to open her own her life coaching business and inspire others as a motivational speaker, let alone walk or talk again.
The Perth woman was given a grim prognosis for her future after experiencing a life-changing stroke following surgery to remove a deadly brain tumour in 2014.
“Initially the surgery went well, then I had a massive stroke that night in recovery. My next memory was six weeks later, I woke up and thought where am I? It was like being a stranger in my own body,” Rebecca said.
“I came out of the surgery as good as I could possibly be, it was actually the stroke that led to me losing everything.
“I was only 30 years old and my family were told to put me in a nursing home. They said I would never be able to live independently again, let alone drive or have a job.”
Rebecca defied the odds and is now passionate about inspiring others with her story. She discovered her talent for public speaking and even gave a Ted Talk at the TEDXByford event in November 2020.
“I just want to share my learnings with others, it’s my way of showing my gratitude. There have been so many people who have helped in my recovery, and I feel like this is a way for me to pay it forward. I want to teach people they can be rehabilitated after stroke, there are always improvements to be made,” she said.
Rebecca still faces many hurdles every day and lives with three low-grade tumours. She has regained her driver’s licence which has given her a sense of independence.
“I believe in the power of the mind. I like to think of the tumours as little passengers on this journey we call life. My story is unique, I have always searched for others who have been through similar experiences and could never find them. It’s like I didn’t belong in either the brain tumour or the stroke communities, she said.
Rebecca is among the 44,000 stroke survivors living in the community across Western Australia.
“When I was going through rehab, I would often cry myself to sleep at night, and I don’t want any other survivors to feel that low. I want to inspire others and I want everyone to know that a stroke can happen at any time.”
Stroke Foundation provides a range of resources to help people in their stroke recovery, and the organisation hosts the EnableMe online community which is a safe and inclusive network of survivors of stroke, their families, and carers.
While not all strokes are preventable, the majority are. To ensure Australians are well informed about recognising stroke and knowing what to do, the Stroke Foundation encourages everyone to learn the F.A.S.T acronym.
FACE – has their mouth drooped?
ARMS – Can they lift both arms?
SPEECH – Is their speech slurred?
TIME is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 immediately.