Emneth stroke survivor planning year of fundraising for the Stroke Association

Joanne Wharf, 33, had a stroke in 2015 whilst driving her six-year-old daughter Ella, home from scho

Joanne Wharf, 33, had a stroke in 2015 whilst driving her six-year-old daughter Ella, home from school one day. - Credit: Archant

An Emneth resident, who had a stroke two years ago, is preparing for a year of fundraising challenges in support of the Stroke Association.

Six-year-old Ella was able to call for help after her mum Joanne Wharf, 33, had a stroke whilst driv

Six-year-old Ella was able to call for help after her mum Joanne Wharf, 33, had a stroke whilst driving her home from school one day. - Credit: Archant

Joanne Wharf, 33, had a stroke in 2015 whilst driving her six-year-old daughter Ella, home from school one day.

Joanne, who was six months pregnant at the time, suddenly lost the ability to talk and move the right side of her body. She managed to pull the car to the side of the road, and Ella was able to call for help.

Joanne said: “Ella was so brave. I remember hearing her speak to my mum on the phone, saying that I needed an ambulance.

“I could hear my mum asking Ella where we were parked. Ella had no idea where we were, or how to explain it to the ambulance crew.

Joanne Wharf, 33, had a stroke in 2015 whilst driving her six-year-old daughter Ella, home from scho

Joanne Wharf, 33, had a stroke in 2015 whilst driving her six-year-old daughter Ella, home from school one day. - Credit: Archant


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“I don’t know how, but I managed to get my left foot on the accelerator to move the car forward to a road sign ahead.

“Ella couldn’t read at the time, but she was able to spell out the road sign to help the paramedics find us.”

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Thanks to the Ella’s quick thinking, Joanne made a good recovery, and her baby son is now two-years-old.

Joanne said: “The stroke has affected my short and long-term memory. I have very few memories of Ella before my stroke which makes me sad.

“I can also find myself in moments where I completely forget where I am, what I’m doing or even my family members’ names. It can be really scary at times.

“After my stroke, I was embarrassed about telling people what had happened. But now I’m really passionate about raising awareness that a stroke can happen to anyone at any age.

“I’m also keen let other mums know how important Ella’s help was on that day. It must had been so frightening for her, but I’m certain that she saved my life.”

This year, Joanne is taking on a series of fundraising challenges to raise money for the Stroke Association.

She added: “Recently, I organised a week where the children had to pick the clothes I wore every day – it raised over £200. It proved to be quite an amusing fundraiser, especially when I turned up to the kid’s school in a Halloween costume! I’m already planning my next fundraiser!”

To sponsor Joanne, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joanne-wharf

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