To say Ashley Adams has faced her share of adversity would be a gross understatement. At the young age of 26 years old Ashley has been diagnosed with Moya-Moya, battled Sickle Cell disease, survived eight strokes, and undergone cardiac surgery.
As an adolescent Ashley was very athletic. She participated in cheerleading and track but as her conditions worsened she gave up her involvement in school activities. Senior prom was cut short for Ashley after suffering from a stroke. And her relationships have been put to the test as a result of her multiple conditions. Even with the difficulties associated with her illnesses Ashley said, “I wouldn’t change my life even if I could. It’s my life experiences that have made me stronger and has helped me find my identity.”
Stroke Awareness Month gives Ashley the platform to share her story and involve others in a conversation to raise stroke awareness for individuals of all ages but especially for stroke in young adults and children. She was three years old when she experienced her first stroke and she had seven more strokes at ages 10, 17, 21, 23, 24, and two strokes as age 26. Ashley mentioned how important it is to know the signs of stroke and to act F.A.S.T.(Face. Arm. Speech. Time.) Even with her extensive experience with stroke Ashley almost missed the signs of her last stroke which started with numbness in her feet and legs. If she had not sought out treatment when she did her life could be much different today.
Ashley gives credit to her support team at home and her therapists at Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC) for pushing her to be successful at maintaining her independence. “I’m not a quitter but I know if I didn’t have that drive my family and therapists wouldn’t let me just give up either”, she said.