Stroke victims spread their wings

Young Stroke Thrivers Foundation executive Maria Fredatovich and  child stroke survivors Hugh...
Young Stroke Thrivers Foundation executive Maria Fredatovich and child stroke survivors Hugh Adair and Sofia Kovacs relax at the Edgewater Resort. Photo: supplied.
A childhood stroke survivor has arranged for two North Island children, who have had strokes, to experience outdoor skiing for the first time  in Wanaka this week.

Maria Fredatovich suffered a stroke at the age of  13 during an operation for epileptic seizures, which left her completely paralysed down one side.

She attributed a large part of her recovery to participation in challenging outdoor activities such as skiing, mountain biking and tramping.

Three years ago, the now 35-year-old formed the Young Stroke Thrivers Foundation to support children and teenagers who have had strokes and to give  them opportunities to realise there are no limits to what they can achieve.

Hugh Adair (7), of Whangarei, and Sofia Kovacs (11), of Auckland, are in Wanaka this week courtesy of the Young Stroke Thrivers Foundation and Foundation North.

Ms Fredatovich said tackling difficult sports such as  skiing was very hard for children who had suffered strokes, but giving them the opportunity through the Cardrona Alpine Resort adaptive snow sports programme "can empower them and change their outlook on life from not wanting to try anything because it was too hard to a ‘can-do Kiwi’ approach."

Ms Fredatovich now lives in Nelson but started the foundation when she was living in Wanaka.

She said "as a stroke survivor I understand why there is a need to have support networks, as there is nothing out there. That was a big reason why I started the foundation".

kerrie.waterworth@odt.co.nz

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