When Lynne Hueston had a stroke at just 33 years old, she faced a variety of challenges that differed from other stroke patients, most of whom are over 65.
After re-learning to walk, overcome speech impairments and live independently, Lynne found ongoing support through the Young Enthusiastic Stroke Support (YESS) group at Sharp Rehabilitation Services.
YESS offers free community-based services for young stroke survivors that address the challenges faced by younger adults, including returning to school, going back to work and raising children.
Topics discussed at the support group can range from coping skills and relationships to stress management and health education. In addition, YESS sponsors social events throughout the year such as adaptive sports, day trips, barbecues, special events and community projects.
“YESS is a group where you can meet other stroke and brain injury survivors,” says Bernadette Gore, a licensed recreation therapist who leads the group. “Participants can share stories, ask questions and support one another.”
Stroke on the rise among adults under age 50
A vast majority of strokes occur in people over age 65. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported a steep increase in strokes among younger people, particularly those in their 30s and 40s. The trend is attributed to an increase in risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure, in addition to improved diagnosis.
Support groups like YESS play an important role in the recovery of young stroke survivors, Gore says.
Lynne, who learned about YESS from her Sharp doctor, believes the group has made a positive impact on her life, helping her learn more about her health and how to prevent another stroke. “My favorite part are the socials,” she says. “They provide great interaction and fun.”
The group changed her life in another way. While attending a YESS social event, Lynne met her soulmate, Bill Ambert. They connected over their shared love of trying new restaurants — and have been together for over 18 years.
“Who knew that a chance encounter at a young stroke survivors meeting would turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to me,” she says.
The YESS group meets Fridays at the Sharp Allison deRose Rehabilitation Center at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Participation is not limited to stroke survivors; the group also supports adults with head injuries, as well as family members of all participants.
To learn more about this group, call Bernadette Gore, recreation therapist at Sharp Allison deRose Rehabilitation Center, at 858-939-3048; or Grace Latimer, recreation therapist at Sharp Grossmont Rehabilitation Center, at 619-740-4100.