Radio Sandwell Local News

Bournville College teacher suffers two strokes after lip piercing

2015-05-22 21:10:42

Jo AvisJo Avis of Northfield who suffererd a stroke after an infection caused by a mouth stud she had while she was a student at Birmingham University

A teacher has told how she suffered two strokes after having her lip pierced.

Joanne Avis had the life-changing strokes after her piercing caused a dangerous heart infection called endocarditis.

Previously fit and healthy, she was left unable to speak, swallow or walk after becoming paralysed down her left side.

Doctors had to operate to rebuild a valve in her heart.

Medics told Jo, from Northfield that the infection was most likely caused by her lip ring, which allowed bacteria into her bloodstream and eventually penetrated her heart.

Now aged 37 she has made a full recovery from her trauma 11 years ago and is raising money for the After Life Stroke Centre in Bromsgrove, which helped her to rebuild her life.

Jo AvisJo Avis who suffered a stroke after a lip piercing

“I was told that I would never teach again,” said Jo, who teaches Life Skills to children with learning difficulties at Bournville College.

“It changed my life irreversibly forever, and although I will always count myself as a survivor and not a victim, it is very hard.

“I am still in a lot of pain and get tired easily.

“If I can warn one person about the dangers of getting a piercing, and that might save their life, then that is enough.”

Jo AvisThe Life after Stroke Centre in Bromsgrove where Joanne Avis is fund raising

Jo spent three months in Telford Hospital, and spent a further 18 months rehabilitating at home with her parents before she could finally return to living independently.

Jo has teamed up with friend Sharon Tilley, a talented seamstress, to create arts and crafts to sell for the stroke support centre, to raise more than £1500.

“Life as a stroke survivor is tough,” added Jo who now lives with fiancé Stuart Vincent. “I didn’t know anything about it before it happened to me.

“I associated it with old people.

“But I know that it is happening to babies, teenagers and pregnant women, and is the biggest cause of disability in the country.

“That is why it is vital that people recognise the signs.

“If I hadn’t have been in hospital for the second stroke, I would have died.”

To See Jo and Sharon’s art work visit:

Jo AvisJo Avis of Northfield who suffererd a stroke after an infection caused by a mouth stud she had while she was a student at Birmingham University

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