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Overcoming a surprise stroke led to a new career

BACK AT IT: Maizetta Charlton with one of her creations

HIT BY a devastating stroke at just 31, Maizetta Charlton's survival alone amazed the medical professionals looking after her. Embodying another miracle, the Birmingham-based graphic designer has gone from losing the function of her writing hand to building a new career in the world of abstract art.

Upon finding out she was ill, Charlton suffered three headaches in the same week, the last one waking her from sleep. Despite being given strong medication in hospital, there was no difference in how she felt. Discharged with a diagnosis of high blood pressure, the next morning she woke up, unable to feel her right leg. She tried to stand up and collapsed soon after.

Unable to walk, stay awake for very long or even eat and drink independently, the future looked bleak for the creative, whose career in art and graphic design looked as if it were well and truly over.

Charlton had been in very good health up to the point of her stroke, which left her with a blood clot and a tear in one of her carotid arteries in her neck. The doctors ruled out operating, as it would have been risky.

BACK ONLINE: Maizetta Charlton

Leaning heavily on her Christian faith, Charlton's long road to recovery began and doctors recalled that she made the equivalent of eighteen months’ progress in a fortnight through rehabilitation treatment. Within two and a half weeks, she was back at home with occasional tingling sensations in her right hand and major problems with speech.

“I am right-handed and that was the side that was affected,” recalled Charlton.

“My writing was huge but I didn’t give up – I used a writing aid to help me. I would cry because I didn’t know whether I would ever be able to draw and write like I once could. It was a real battle."

Through perseverance, the artist regained the ability to not only resume her design career, but move into the field of abstract art.

Twelve years on from her toughest times, Charlton is producing impressive pieces of artwork that clients have told her have brought peace to their surroundings and is a part of the growing arts collective, Behance.

To see some of Maizetta Charlton's work online, click here.

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