A pregnant mum was left paralysed after suffering a catastrophic stroke at the age of 26.
Ashleigh Turner suffered the life-threatening medical condition on Boxing Day 2019 while nine weeks pregnant.
She was forced to spend the next seven months in hospital after being told she had suffered a spinal stroke, until she gave birth to her “little miracle” Jacob.
Ashleigh, 26, of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear told the chroniclelive : “I was just tidying up the kid’s toys from Christmas Day when it happened.
“I just had really severe pain and pins and needles in my shoulders and neck at first, then after about 20 minutes I just couldn’t move.”
She spent her between Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital in the city.
A scan detected a slipped disc, but no cause was ever firmly established for the spinal stroke which has left her in a wheelchair.
The Brain and Spine Foundation say a spinal stroke occurs when the spine’s blood supply is disrupted.
Most are caused by blockages – typically blood clots – while others are caused by bleeds.
They are incredibly rare, accounting for one in every 80 strokes, but as Ashleigh found out, they can be devastating.
Over 18 months later though, she’s fundraising to get some help for the future.
The mum of three, with children aged between one and eight, is trying to raise £5,000 for powered wheelchair wheels.
She hopes it will make it easier to take them out on trips, while simply helping her to enjoy being a mum.
“Before this happened me and the kids would never be in the house, we love the outdoors,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page.
“However due to nerve damage, muscle weakness and not having any grip in my hands I struggle to push my chair outside (or) on uneven surfaces.
“We always have to have an extra pair of hands with us anywhere we go or leave the kids with our parents and it takes away that family time we need and want to enjoy again..”
It will also help her after a nightmare 18 months, which has included lengthy stints in hospital and gruelling rehabilitation sessions.
It has had a huge impact on her young family, which has already suffered their fair share of bad luck.
“The two little ones don’t really understand too much, but it has affected my daughter quite a lot.
“She’s had to have counselling and stuff, so it has been pretty rough.
And she added: “About three years before I had the stroke my mam literally turned over in her bed and slipped the disc in her neck and she ended up paralysed down the left side, but they managed to operate her and sorted her.
“But with me being pregnant, they wouldn’t touch me.
“I think it was just an accident waiting to happen – it is crazy.”
Friends and family are now doing all they can to help her reach her fundraising target.
And despite being told the damage was permanent, tenacious Ashleigh remains resilient.
“I’ve spent five months in and out of James Cook Hospital’s spinal unit rehab, and they said there’s a five year window and that nobody should say it is permanent,” she added.
“I’ve got feeling back…but there’s just no movement back. I keep willing it and if anything happens, it happens.”