#BrainLifeGoals – Story of a young man who suffered a stroke at 19

EFNA launched the #BrainLifeGoals campaign earlier this year with the aim of raising awareness of the needs and goals of people with brain diseases. People are posting stories about their personal achievements and wishes on social media with hashtag #LifeGoals. People with brain diseases have their own goals, some of which are very fundamental – to speak clearly again, to walk, to look after themselves independently, etc. This is what the #BrainLifeGoals campaign is all about. Things that one person can do automatically and effortlessly are actually somebody else’s life goals.

The Stroke Association of Serbia is taking part in this campaign by posting stories of younger people who have suffered a stroke and overcome it. Nenad Nikolic explained why the organisation are getting involved in the campaign:

“By publishing stories about people who suffered a stroke we are trying raise public awareness about their needs. You can find all the stories we have already published here ( https://mozdaniudar.org/wp/brainlifegoals/ ) These are your stories and we want to make sure that they are heard. We have written many times that stroke happens regardless your age, whether you are famous or not, it doesn’t pick place or time… It just strikes.”

Vladimir’s story

Vladimir Jovic

Vladimir Jovic (now 24), a chef from Doboj, felt certain symptoms on his way home from school 5 years ago. Later, it turned out that it was a stroke. Vladimir says he had always led a healthy lifestyle, he had never smoked and he had even trained in kickboxing. Of all risk factors he only had high blood pressure but he thought that was nothing serious.

On 12th December 2014, while he was on bus going home from school, he felt as if something went through him. After that he felt nausea and sleepiness. He couldn’t feel his left foot and was losing his balance. His friends noticed something was wrong so they helped him to get home, where he immediately went to bed, thinking he would feel better when woke up. However, he woke up and was still very sleepy. He could feel his foot again but he felt his arm was not functioning. He told his parents and they took him to hospital immediately. He was diagnosed with a stoke. After 12 days spent at hospital he was transferred to the rehabilitation centre.

The consequences of the stroke are the loss of fine motor skills in the left hand, restricted movements of fingers, intensified spasms when he is cold and rapid mood changes. Still, he says that he feels all right. He is grateful he can live normally, to do most of the actions he could do before the stroke. Cycling helped him a lot. It was hard and exhausting but he was persistent. He is very happy he has found a job – he works as a chef and it is fulfilling him. He only takes Zyllt and does regular blood pressure check-ups. He started smoking and jokingly claims it is a side effect of the stroke (we strongly advise him to quit).

Vladimir advises everyone to concentrate on every and each moment of their life, to be persistent and consistent. And to set themselves goals and work on achieving them without thinking about the future too much.

We would like to emphasise that this story is an good example that stroke does not choose its victims, happening even to 19-year-olds, and there are even younger cases. Hypertension at any age should not be taken lightly.

If you want your story to be heard, send it to us via Facebook or Twitter. We are grateful to Vladimir for sharing his story with us!