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Young stroke survivor shares story, issues warning

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Posted at 11:42 AM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 12:42:59-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Strokes can be deadly.

Amanda Berry, 33, survived a stroke this fall but spent weeks working to regain the use of her left arm.

She said it all started with a pounding headache.

“And I took a nap to try to sleep off my headache and woke up with no feeling in the left side of my body,” Berry said. “I used to work for 9-1-1 and so you know it’s like why didn’t that click to me at some point, like hey get to the hospital. But I just thought I just needed to go home, sleep it off, and then I would feel better and I woke up in the ICU.”

Berry is a mother and was formerly an emergency dispatcher. Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City reached out about Amanda’s story and KSHB 41 spoke to her doctor, Dr. Coleman Martin, a neurologist at the Saint Luke's Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute.

He said Amanda had to have an injured and blocked artery repaired as well as have a blood clot removed.

Berry is now even more grateful for every moment with her son.

“I can go to his baseball games, still be a mom to him. And I’m incredibly thankful for that like I can’t even put it into words,” she said.

Martin said, while rare for children, strokes can happen at any age. Watching for warning signs and time matters.

“If we can restore blood flow within a few hours of the onset of the stroke, people tend to do very very well. If, however, it’s been six hours or half a day, then usually the recovery is slow, if there’s any recovery at all, so it is vitally important."

The American Stroke Association lists symptoms on its website and includes the acronym "F.A.S.T." for face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call for help.

The organization also lists several risk factors, some that can and some that cannot be controlled.

Two of the biggest risk factors that Dr. Martin said can be modified or treated are high blood pressure and smoking.