Toowoomba man inspires mum in stroke fight
YOUR STORY: The family of a mother-of-four who suffered a massive stroke 14 months ago has found inspiration and hope from a Toowoomba man's amazing recovery.
Toowoomba's Joel Shepherd, 27, suffered a brain injury when he was three years old which affected his motor skills and his ability to communicate.
Last year Mr Shepherd and his family flew to Los Angeles to undergo a revolutionary reverse stroke treatment to reduce the swelling on his brain.
Thanks to three rounds of Perispinal Etanercept treatment Mr Shepherd is now able walk independently and his conversation skills have improved.
Natasha Christiansen's family has found hope in what Mr Shepherd and his family have achieved.
Mrs Christiansen's mother Chris wrote to The Chronicle to share her daughter's story:
"Fourteen months ago my daughter Natasha survived a massive stroke.
"She still has a long way to go on her recovery. All radiologists that look at her brain cannot believe what she has achieved with such a massive brain injury.
"She is the strongest, most determined woman in the world!
"Natasha has three daughters - Hannah, Jessie and Maddalyn.
"A few years ago, she married Mark and had a son Charlie - they had their dream family complete.
"Natasha worked in family day care business and cared for her disabled father. Then tragedy struck the family.
"The main lady in all their lives was on life support, struck down with a stroke that they could not diagnose so they could not treat.
"Fourteen hours after her stoke, treatment was started for Cerebral Vasculitis, to suppress her immune system, it was attacking her brain and caused the massive stroke.
"Natasha has marvelled the doctors with her strength and determination to get back.
"She spent about four months in hospital and rehab and her strength shone though - she walked again. She had rewired her brain to use the useless part of her body.
"Natasha could not have done all this without the unconditional support of her family.
"Mark is now fulltime carer for her and her father.
"Everyone rallied for her. We where there from the time she woke up until we put her to bed at night. Her lovely sister Renee made sure she was never alone.
"I, her sister Renee and Maddy were a tag team and Mark beside her with their son Charlie that pushed Natasha to come back to us. Natasha was amazing everyone every day she pushed to do more and more herself.
"The precious moments of her and three-year-old Charlie trying to help her speak and encouraging support was heartbreaking, each little step forward was a leap with Tasha.
"Charlie was eating breakfast one morning and Tasha said 'morning'.
"Oh my god, that was a first!
"Charlie yells 'mummy you said it! You have to say it twice!'
"Tasha is walking around proudly saying 'morning, morning, morning'. She can't say much, but a new word for her that day was MORNING!
"Today, 12 months on, Natasha wants 'SPEECH'.
"When I see Natasha and the frustration and tears that flow never stop and then she drags me to the room to show me the report ... 'SPEECH' she says and points to her article on stroke reversal.
"'TASHA wants SPEECH!!!'
"Thanks to Coralie Graham's story, I am taking Natasha to Los Angeles on August 17 for her first treatment.
"Natasha lives in Brisbane and we are raising funds for that treatment. I want to tell people there is hope when they say she won't ever get any better!"