CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — May is National Stroke Awareness Month, so, to spread awareness, one brave mother from the Mountain State is sharing her story.

“It’s a blessing every day that she’s here because we always remember what could’ve happened,” said Tom McLane, April McLane’s husband.

April McLane of Kanawha County was a healthy 37 years old, raising her children in West Virginia. Everything seemed fine until her life flashed before her eyes seven years ago.

Courtesy: American Heart Association

“I am proud of her for her fight and her courage. It is not easy and she still has challenges with the aphasia, wither her right-side weakness but she battles through them,” said McLane.

Almost 50% of West Virginians have high blood pressure or hypertension, which can lead to stroke and heart disease…and that so happens to be the leading cause of death in women.

Courtesy: American Heart Association

But stroke symptoms are very different in men than they are in women. So it is important to understand the signs.

“A trait that is seen in women that are survivors is that they had severe headaches that come out of nowhere. For no reason whatsoever you have a headache,” said Kevin Pauley, with the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association uses the acronym “FAST” for stroke symptoms in men and women. This stands for face drooping, arm weakness, speech impairment, and to take action.

“The importance of calling 9-1-1. Even during a pandemic, heart disease and strokes don’t take breaks,” said Pauley.

Though it has been a long journey that isn’t over yet, April can live a beautiful life because her family took action and called 911.