Cwmbran stroke survivor Miss Torfaen completes her year in the role
11:42am Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
MISS Torfaen, who continued to fulfil the role despite suffering a stroke, hopes to start her own charity.
Emily Shephard, 19, from Pontnewydd, was given the title in October after entering the Galaxy Pageant UK competition before leaving for a trip to America.
Winning the title could not have come at a better time for the teenager, as on July 22, 2012, while working at a summer camp in Minnesota, she collapsed after suffering a stroke.
Luckily, she did not suffer brain damage and received physiotherapy in hospital and was able to leave after three days.
She said: “Being Miss Torfaen was a wonderful experience as I was able to work for charities and help to raise funds by raising awareness. One of the highlights was working with the Stroke Association as it meant a lot to me as a stroke survivor.”
Miss Shephard continued to fulfil the Miss Torfaen role despite suffering from pins and needles in her left arm and leg and often becoming very weak.
She underwent more trips to the hospital with doctors fearing she was having mini-strokes on a weekly basis.
But in January this year, she was giving a diagnosis of hemiplegic migraine that was triggered by the stroke in 2012 which had been brought on by stress.
A person with hemiplegic migraine will experience a temporary weakness on one side of their body, including the face, arm and leg, accompanied by pins and needles.
It mimics the symptoms of a stroke., with the person experiencing speech difficulties and vision problems.
She said: “I was relieved that I was suffering from a recognised condition as for over six months I had been searching for answers, which made me feel depressed and angry.
“I will take tables for the rest of my life and continue to suffer from attacks, but it’s not as severe, with part-paralysis lasting between 20 minutes to a couple of hours.”
Her highlights as Miss Torfaen include speaking at Cwmbran's Big Event, raising awareness of Action on stroke month, meeting stroke survivors through Stroke Association Wales, and attending Cwmbran tree lighting ceremony.
She said: “Being Miss Torfaen has given me confidence to speak out and seeing the impact that charities have on people's lives has inspired me to set up my own charity in the future.
“But I haven't decided what cause I would like to raise money for yet.”
Last month, Miss Shephard was able to complete some unfinished business, returning to the camp in Minnesota.