A TEACHER from Worcester is preparing for her first Christmas since having a stroke, and urging people to donate to the charity which helped her.

Joanna Marsh, 54, a teacher at RGS in Worcester, woke up earlier than usual in January this year and collapsed while attempting to get out of bed. After managing to ring 111 and then attending hospital, MRI scans confirmed she’d had a stroke caused by a blood clot.

Although Joanna has since made a good recovery, she still has problems with one sided weakness and fatigue and had to have months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

Now, approaching her first Christmas since her stroke, Joanna already knows some of her traditions will change.

She said: “I love Christmas but fatigue really will dictate what I can do this year. Since the age of 11, I have attended midnight mass with my mum and even read passages but now it’s just too late at night and I’ll be so tired. As a Christmas tradition, we’ve always gone to watch Handel’s Messiah too but again it’s just too late for me after my stroke.

“Friends and colleagues look at me and think I’m fine but I’m not all the time, it’s all much hidden. I really struggle with fatigue and this year I will have to skip the staff Christmas party and Christmas dinner with the school kids. I used to love decorating the house and putting the tree up and I’ll try this year as usual even though it’s hard work. I’ve made so much progress since my stroke and I keep my drive and stay as cheery as I can.”

Joanna praised the Stroke Association. It supports more than 70,000 people as they rebuild their lives. See stroke.org.uk/gifts