Allie’s Story

Photo of a young woman with blonde hair wearing a green shirt and grey cardigan, seated, with an open room behind her

When most people imagine their life at 27, they don’t picture having a severe stroke that steals their mobility and their identity too. But that’s what happened to Allie.

While walking home from work she slipped on some ice and bumped her head. A month later she had a stroke.

Her brain had no oxygen for half an hour which resulted in catastrophic damage. Allie had complete amnesia, was deaf in her left ear and cross-eyed. Blood clots in her brain impacted her movement and balance and she underwent surgery to remove the clots.

Photo of two women walking, from behind. One woman is helping the other one, who is leaning on a handrail for supportYou wouldn’t think a stroke would drastically change the life of a healthy young person, but it happens more often than you might think. In fact, traumatic injuries and health issues are the reason why the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital is there for thousands of patients each year.

After three weeks in acute care, Allie came to the Glenrose as an inpatient for three months, followed by two years as an outpatient. She worked rigorously with her therapists to improve her physical and mental capabilities. The therapy was intense, but she was highly motivated to regain her independence. In addition to countless hours of physical therapy, there was also art therapy, where Allie thrived. Although she had worked in the arts for over a decade as an archivist, she’d never given herself the gift of being an artist. During art therapy, she discovered her own hidden talent.

Young woman with long blonde hair sitting at a table and drawing a picture

“I’d have to say that art therapy at the Glenrose was critical to my recovery. In fact, even though I couldn’t even draw a cube anymore when I entered the Glenrose, painting became my lifeline.” ~Allie

Allie is now back to driving, with adaptive equipment, and even traveled solo in Europe for three months. She also went back to school and finished her master’s degree. One of her goals is to serve as a patient ambassador for other stroke patients who need extra support. She is proud to share the story of her stroke and rehabilitation journey in the hopes it will inspire others.

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