Model’s sudden stroke from ‘bad headaches’
A young British model who was left unable to walk unaided after suffering a rare life-threatening stroke says she is determined to strut down the catwalk just months later.
Freya Ayub suffered a stroke in June 2019 after her blood pressure plummeted when she was left housebound after a series of headaches and severe head pain.
The 22-year-old was rushed to hospital and spent five weeks practically immobile and needing aid when walking due to knee problems caused by being left bedridden by the stroke.
But now on the path of recovery and having regained the ability to walk, Freya's next goal is to nab the title of Miss England, a beauty pageant she entered on a whim in November.
Freya, a customer adviser and university student from Rotherham, South Yorks explained that she suffered from bad headaches for two years and in April she experienced a "really intense episode".
"I was unable to get off the sofa to eat or even go to the toilet, and one day my blood pressure went really low so an ambulance was called and doctors told me that I had a stroke," she said.
"In hospital I didn't realise I was slurring my speech at first, but my friends and family kept telling me I was saying random words when I spoke.
"I burst into tears when they told me and I was scared because I didn't actually know I was doing it."
At this stage, Freya has little information as to what caused her stroke, other than doctors telling her that her condition is "very rare".
She said she spent two weeks in hospital and had slurred speech that lasted for two days after the stroke.
When Freya was allowed to return home, she said managing her recovery process was unexpectedly difficult.
"I got really frustrated and bored because I was unable to work for four months and had to take a gap year from my human biology degree at university,' she said.
"When I was discharged, my mum and my sisters still had to help me stand up because, after about 10 or 15 minutes, I would get a stinging pain in my knees."
Doctors are still investigating the cause of Freya's stroke and check in with her every three months to monitor her progress.
"The doctors have told me it's very rare but haven't said much else, which has made me very worried and nervous," she said.
Freya, who is studying human biology, revealed she was left "very shaken" by what happened, especially as she was fit and well and played a lot of sport.
She added prior to this, she hadn't experienced any signs of a stroke like facial drooping or speech slurring.
"I haven't got a clue what caused it, and I didn't think it would happen to me so young," she said.
"I don't really want to think about what might have caused it because it makes me more worried."
Freya, who has no previous modelling or pageant experience, decided to apply to compete for the Miss England 2020 title after seeing Dr Bhasha Mukherjee take the crown in 2019's final.
She now wants to spread more awareness of strokes in young people and show how she can still strut her stuff down the pageant catwalk while recovering from the knee problems caused by it.
"I found out about Miss England after coming across the winner this year, and I thought it would be an amazing way to share my story,' she said.
"I applied for the contest as something to boost my confidence after my stroke. It was spontaneous.
"The most important reason was to get more awareness out there because a lot of people aren't aware of younger people having a stroke."