I thought I had a headache after exercising, but it was a stroke and I'm just 29

Mum-of-two Jess feared she was being ‘dramatic’ about her symptoms before collapsing at work. She says she is lucky to be alive.
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Jess Tierney is on a mission to raise awareness about the risk of strokes among young adults after her own harrowing experience resulted in neurological surgery after a seemingly innocuous incident. "You're never too young to have a stroke," she has warned her peers.

The young mum of two from Runcorn found herself in a life-threatening situation when she lost consciousness at work. Paramedics initially put her symptoms down as a panic attack or Bell’s palsy, however, further scans revealed a blockage in her brain, leading to a crucial surgery to remove the blood clot.

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Jess, 29, who works in teaching recruitment, said the ordeal began with shoulder pain, which she originally dismissed as a strain from a pole fitness class, until the situation escalated as she developed a headache and a numbness in her mouth and tongue.

“I was eating my dinner and started developing a headache in my temples,” she told the Press Agency. “I took some paracetamol, and it wouldn’t go away. At about 2:30pm, I collapsed. It was a good job I wasn’t at home alone.”

Following a long wait for treatment, Jess was transferred to The Walton Centre in Liverpool, were she underwent a thrombectomy to remove the blood clot. Jess described the staff at The Walton Centre as 'amazing' and said: "I could have died or it could of been life-changing. It's actually quite scary to think if it wasn't on my doorstep what would have happened."

According to the NHS, strokes are more likely to occur if you are over the age of 55, although one in five does occur in young people. Following her surgery, Jess also discovered that she has a hole in her heart and is currently adapting to life with her newly found physical challenges and remains resilient.

A patient looks outside a hospital. Image: Yanukit/stock.adobeA patient looks outside a hospital. Image: Yanukit/stock.adobe
A patient looks outside a hospital. Image: Yanukit/stock.adobe
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Jess told the PA news agency: “If you get constant headaches like I used to, just get checked. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Her husband, David Tierney, 39, is supporting Jess in her journey and is hoping to raise funds for The Walton Centre by climbing Snowdon in Wales, alongside the families of other stroke victims, later this year.

Speaking on her life now, Jess hopes she can get involved in future fundraising, she stated: "That’s my goal.” 

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