An Antrim woman has been posthumously honoured for her brave struggle with illness at the’ Life After Stroke’ Awards.
Health Minister Edwin Poots presented the ‘Professional Excellence Award’ at the’ Life After Stroke’ Awards ceremony hosted by the Stroke Association at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast as part of Action on Stroke month.
The late Mandy Lavery was recognised with the Adult Courage Award (18 to 64 years old).
The awards are a celebration of innovation and good practice. They are designed to recognise groups and individuals who have worked to improve the quality of life of stroke sufferers and their families. The awards are run by the Stroke Association at a regional and UK-wide level.
Having come through leukaemia at the age of 9, along with several other illnesses, Mandy remained a vivacious, positive and outgoing girl who loved nothing better than going out with friends, travelling abroad and taking her dog Stitch for long walks.
However in June 2011, Mandy had a stroke which left her with paralysis down her right side, aphasia and short term memory loss. Despite being told she’d never walk again, Mandy was determined to get her independence back and was eventually able to use her walking stick for short distances. By attending the Stroke Association’s Antrim programme, she was also able to write again using her left hand, cook simple meals and use her mobile phone. Two years of speech therapy also made a difference and Mandy was able to once again enjoy her holidays, cruising with her mum last year.
In October 2013, Mandy was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy and both her ovaries removed in January this year. Sadly, she passed away in March. Mandy was an extraordinary young woman who consistently displayed courage and bravery throughout everything she’d been through. She never let her disabilities hold her back and lived her life with relentless determination and a huge smile on her lovely face. She will forever remain an exceptional inspiration to everyone.