It’s been ten years since Kingsley local Tala Olins-Miller, 22, was rescued from the surf after mysteriously collapsing on her paddle board.
Doctors initially thought the teenager was concussed, but when Tala had not regained control of the right side of her body two days later, a brain scan revealed she had suffered a stroke.
The diagnosis came as an enormous shock to Tala and her family. At first Tala was not able to write, brush her teeth or tie her hair. It took two years of rehabilitation to completely regain her gross and fine motor control.
But this Sunday, the 22 year old will put on her running shoes and prove how far she has come in her recovery by taking part in the HBF Run for a Reason in Perth.
Tala, who is now a physio, said ten years post-stroke was a huge milestone and it has motivated her to tackle the 12 kilometre run and raise awareness of young stroke in the process.
“Stroke can strike anyone at any age. I was a healthy 13 year old girl, but my life changed in an instant. Tala said.
“I had physical hurdles to overcome, but it also took a toll mentally. I struggled with feeling different to my classmates at an age when you just want to fit in.”
Stroke attacks the brain, the human control centre, changing lives in an instant.
“My recovery has taken a great deal of persistence over many years, but you would not know I am a stroke survivor today unless I told you,” Tala added.
“I am forever grateful to be alive, to be able to have an active lifestyle and achieve simple things many people may take for granted.”
Stroke Foundation Western Australia State Manager Jonine Collins applauded Tala for her tenacity and commitment to her recovery, adding stroke impacts more children than many people realised.
“In Australia there are approximately 500 infant and childhood strokes each year,” Ms Collins said.
“While Tala’s recovery has been proven challenging, her positive attitude is to be admired and she is an inspiration to other young stroke survivors.”
Tala is passionate about giving back to the community and will donate funds raised during Run for a Reason to the Stroke Foundation to continue its mission to prevent stroke, save lives and enhance recovery.