CLAREMONT stroke survivor Sarah Cruse has put on her hiking boots to conquer the iconic Overland Track in an effort to tackle stroke head on.
Twenty-five-year-old Ms Cruse spent 12 days in an induced coma after having a stroke in August 2016.
“Having a stroke at 22 came as a huge shock for me and my family,” Ms Cruse said.
“I had surgery on my brain and skull three times and my parents were told there was a strong chance I would not survive, but I refused to give up – that’s been my attitude all along.”
Ms Cruse said the stroke hampered many of her day-to-day abilities such as reading and made her fatigued, but an intensive rehabilitation period has helped her recover.
“The big trouble was my speech, I had trouble trying to get the words out,” she said.
“Now I’m able to drive, I’m back at work, and I’m able to do pretty much everything I was able to do before my stroke – I’ve nearly done a full recovery.”
While recovering from her stroke, Ms Cruse was inspired to trek the Overland Track to raise funds for the Stroke Foundation after family friend Killian Halpin did it in 27 hours to help support Ms Cruse and her family.
“When I got back from my recovery, one thing I noticed was a lot of people had donated to helping my family and myself, and I just wanted to give back to all the other people who had a stroke,” she said.
“I wanted to bring awareness to everyone to say stroke can happen to anyone, it’s not just for older people, it’s also people who are teenagers, in their 20s or 30s, and even babies.”
Ms Cruse set out on her ‘Hike 4 Stroke Awareness’ from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Claire on 19 March with three friends, and encouraged people to follow their dreams and live life as normally as they could.
“Stroke brings physical and mental challenges, but I had wonderful support from my family and friends,” she said.
“I am stronger now than I was before.
“One day at a time, that’s all it takes.”
Ms Cruse has surpassed her goal of $1,500 and has raised more than $1,900, with that figure still climbing.
Stroke Foundation chief executive officer Sharon McGowan said Ms Cruse acted as an inspiration to anyone suffering from stroke.
“There are more than 140,000 Australian stroke survivors of working age, most living with some form of ongoing disability,” she said.
“Stroke attacks the brain, the human control centre, and changes lives in an instant.
“But the good news is with the right treatment at the right time, along with the right support in rehabilitation, many people are able to live well after stroke.
“Sarah’s determination to put on her hiking boots to trek the Overland Track is testament to what can be achieved.”
For more information or to donate to Ms Cruse’s appeal, visit https://doit4stroke.everydayhero.com/au/sarah-s-hike-4-stroke-awareness.
Caption: Stroke survivor Sarah Cruse trekked the Overland Track to raise funds for the Stroke Foundation.