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Courage To Come Back: Physical Rehabilitation recipient speaks for those who can't speak for themselves

Last Updated Apr 25, 2016 at 6:31 am PDT

Summary

'It took everything away from me,' says Courage To Come Back award recipient who suffered a stroke at age 31

Stroke left 31-year-old with aphasia, leaving her unable to write properly

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – She thought she had it all: a master’s degree, a dream job, and the love of her life.

Then suddenly, she found herself paralyzed on her right side and barely able to speak.

NEWS 1130’s series of Courage To Come Back profiles continues with a look at the recipient in the Physical Rehabilitation category.

“It took everything away from me,” remembers Christy Campbell.

“I just graduated with my Master’s Degree, I was in a great new job at Environment Canada, I met the love of my life, and then… this happened.”

She was just 31 when she suffered her stroke, one that would leave her without the permanent use of her right hand and unable to walk and talk for months. “And when I woke up, my one word was ‘yes.'”

It also left her with aphasia, a condition that can affect both the comprehension and expression of language, making it difficult to choose words or communicate ideas. Aphasia affects 100,000 Canadians, each of them differently.

“I’m now speaking well, I think, but my writing, I can’t really write anymore. And, two or three people that I know they [can only speak] one word, but they could write.”

Now, more than 10 years after her stroke, Christy has become a powerful advocate for others with asphasia.

She has helped secure money for the Speech Language Pathology Program at UBC, co-founded the annual Sea-to-Sky Aphasia Camp, and currently offers her expertise to St. Paul’s Hospital and Douglas College, among others.

She also continues to advocate on behalf of aphasia patients, reminding medical professionals that while they can’t always communicate, they can still hear. “Although she or he couldn’t respond, you need to talk to them.”

Christy looks at her Courage To Come Back Award as a way to continue spreading the word.

Christy: “I’m proud to talk about aphasia and to be the spokesperson [for] a disability [that] by nature is a silent disability.”

Reporter: “So, you kind of speak for those who can’t speak for themselves?”

Christy: “Definitely. I hope I’m doing a good job!”

NEWS 1130 is a proud sponsor of the Courage To Come Back Awards, which will be handed out Thursday May 5th at the Vancouver Convention Centre.