Change Your Thoughts And You Can Help Change The World!

1Update…….

It has been a really busy summer, so I thought I would update you all of what’s been happening in my life!

April being a Stroke Awareness month, I was invited by the BBC/ITV, Radio Asian Network and Sky News to tell my story live on the radio & TV. This was my first experience of being interviewed LIVE! I didn’t know what to expect and just had to be brave and respond to the questions. Now that I know what it entails, I was glad for the experience and being given the opportunity to reach a large audience, to bring awareness to so many people.

Rebuilding lives after stroke – The Stroke Association ran a national campaign called “Rebuilding lives after a stroke” and 6 stroke survivors including me were chosen to share our journeys.

This campaign was a fulfilling experience and has been very successful as it educates people that strokes can happen to anyone at any age and that all young people should be aware of this.

The campaign reached a large audience and has been advertised in leaflets, magazines, tv channels, radio and in cinemas.

May started with me actively supporting a couple of charities, one being One Kind Act coffee morning which was raising funds for their work and the second was for Bal Kitchen, in support of local causes that help survivors who have had a brain injury.  Bal Kapila lost her son after a tragic brain injury. I feel terribly sad for her and admire her bravery to continue raising awareness and raising funds for worthy causes. Money raised from her cookery book sales were kindly donated to One Kind Act to buy essential equipment to support head injury victims.

Then in June I was also fortunate to be one of four people chosen to have three weeks of intensive therapy for Aphasia. I participated in various individual and group therapies such as speech and language, self-development, tree of life therapy and many more.

During that period, I learnt a lot, but more importantly, my perception of people with aphasia changed, whereby I realised that everyone one with aphasia is different and their capabilities also vary. I enjoyed sharing our journey and in this process, this gave me the courage and confidence which helped me to believe in myself.  From this experience I felt I made lifetime friendships and felt that I really could improve my future skill sets.

This treatment was funded by The National Brain Appeal which is a charity dedicated to raising vital funds for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at UCL

The intensive therapy was amazing for all the participants and I only wish it was bit longer.

It has also been one year since I started volunteering for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). It was my ambition to work here, as my cousin Tiana spent a long time in this hospital and I saw the amazing care she got. She suffered from Cystic Fibrosis and was treated at the hospital and unfortunately passed away at a very young age. She is my inspiration and was a selfless soul who was brave, lively and had an amazing enthusiasm for life, always wanting to help others. Achieving a volunteering position at GOSH was difficult but I was glad to be given this opportunity.

At GOSH I work on the ward visiting children in their rooms, playing games with them, doing different activities and giving the parents support and a break if they required it. Every time I am there, I have a different experience and get to share and tell a different story. I absolutely love it and find it so rewarding.

Finally, in July I continued to support Sky Sharma Foundation. This is a mental health charity raising awareness amongst the Asian population. Neelam Sharma lost her only son Akash to suicide. Despite a deep personal loss, she raises funds to help projects in schools and colleges. At the same time, we supported Bal again. To see two mothers in so much pain from their loss yet raising money for their causes was truly a humbling sight.

On A More Personal Note …………

All through the summer I have been overwhelmed with numerous weddings and celebrations of close family and friends. From hen parties to weddings and baby showers I have been extremely busy and at times was exhausted.

I am really happy for my friends and family who are progressing in their lives, but I can’t help but look at my own journey and think how different it would or could have been if I did not have my unexpected stroke in 2016. Then I reflect and I know how blessed I am to have made an amazing recovery and here today to share my story.

As you can see, I have had so much going on in my life it has been like a roller coaster emotionally and physically.

My Feelings ……….

With so much going on I do get tired and this slows my thought process, but I am to blame for this as I keep pushing myself to do more.

There are times when I feel anxious and feel that I cannot express my true feeling or that people don’t understand. This sometime causes frustration and I get temperamental until I have an emotional outburst, luckily this is short lived, and I accept things and move forward positively.

I do feel sad that I have lost touch with some of my old friends who have moved on, but I am also grateful for the new friends I have met who have been so supportive and understanding to me.

I am also thankful to my mum and dad who have been my tower of strength through my journey.

I also look at the positive side to life, to have been lucky to have helped so many causes, to have shared my story and bring awareness and to have reached out to so many people and through this, having made some amazing new relationships.

My aim is to educate people, to discuss, to understand, to question but not to judge or make opinions on anyone. No one person is the same, but every person deserves to be loved and be understood.

LINKS……..

Rebuilding Lives:        www.stroke.org.uk/rebuilding-lives

BBC Asian Network:    www.facebook.com/BBCAsianNetwork/videos/302085454060965/

Sky News: www.facebook.com/AlishaMalhotraAphasia/videos/289546275325521/

Channel 5 News :  https://www.facebook.com/AlishaMalhotraAphasia/videos/346433479556249/?q=alisha%20aphasia&epa=SEARCH_BOX

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How you can make a difference

Hi everyone

I haven’t had the opportunity to add these videos to my blog yet. Watching them gives me a flashback to what happened and makes me realise how far I have come and how much I have improved. Please watch and share with anyone who might be interested.

For the first time I was interviewed by itv news to talk about my stroke and learning to read and write again. You can watch the video here

Last year I did my first speech for ‘Step A Head’ ball to raise awareness for people with brain injury. With our charity One Kind Act we managed to raise a substantial amount of money for people in need in the UK and abroad. You can watch my speech here

I am so grateful to be in a position where I can help others and raise awareness of different issues affecting lots of people across the world. Please have a look at the One Kind Act website  where you can find out how to get involved and the details of the different events we have coming up.

I’ll be posting another blog very soon to update you all on my progress and how I have been feeling.

 

 

 

 

My new perspective

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It’s been a long time since I have written my ideas as during the summer I’ve been really busy attending my close friends’ hen’s and weddings. So now it is time to reflect on my own thoughts and feelings and what has been happening. It’s been really nice catching up with all my friends during the summer and also I have had family over. Lots of people have said to me a couple of times you are getting so much better and it’s like old times. I feel I am getting better every day although I’ve always been determined and continue to do the best I can. I’ve had a lot of fun but it has also been quite emotional.

Around the summer period naturally people are busy, but I want to say without saying particular names certain friends have actually always been there for me and will always be there for me which means a lot.

I am also continuing to look after children which has always been my passion, and I am raising awareness by giving speeches at events and trying to help others. Recently I have been starting to do voluntary work. On the weekends I am looking after children at Great Ormond Street hospital which is really rewarding. My cousin was always there to help others, so I am continuing to be there for my angel. I have also started volunteering for the Stroke Association where I get to talk to different people, ask them how they are feeling and share ideas and set goals. It is always good thinking of your future goals and working towards something and it is rewarding once they been achieved. So I am really keeping myself busy but I still find time to eat out (which is one of my favourite past-times!).

Now I’ve accepted that my life has changed, and I think I know what has happened and how it can happen to others. When I saw the Doctor again this year, she said ‘you are so lucky to be alive and you really are a miracle because it could have been so much worse, but you look great’. I do have sad and empty days, instead of thinking why was it me, I mainly think it is going to take some time.  I shouldn’t worry that certain people aren’t there anymore and don’t understand how hard it is still for me. I don’t always have the chance to talk or share how I am feeling anymore like before, things are different now, people have moved on, people are busy. Life goes on…

I’ve also got my own goals and I hope the majority of things get done by the end of the year. However, I have to wait and see, there are so many tests in my mind I have to continue doing things on my own, finding things out, there is still so much to learn and I will continue to do the best I can. Every day is still a new challenge.

I am really focused now on my volunteering jobs at the schools and at GOSH, which I have always been passionate about.

I am particularly interested in raising awareness at local schools, hospitals and events.

If anyone has any ideas, support or suggestions that could help me with any of the issues raised, please contact me.

 

India Head Injury Foundation (IHIF)

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After a long time I went to India in April 2018.  My first visit was to Mumbai I visited my Nana (grand father) who was not well. I hadn’t seen him for over 7 years and it was good spending quality time with him. He was so lonely and happy to see my mum dad and me. I left feeling so blessed and fortunate to have been in his presence.

Next we visited Jodhpur, this was such a memorable and special trip. We stayed at the Balsamnad Lake Palace, this was like a dream place, with amazing views,  lots of wild monkeys and beautiful peacocks in the grounds. Next the main reason for our visit was to see the India Head Injury Foundation Rehabilitation Centre for children following a brain injury and other illnesses. Through the One Kind Act Charity Ball in January, we were able to raise funds to donate to this centre. It was very interesting to see the facilities they had and for me to be able to compare my stay in hospital and rehab centre in UK.  I realised how lucky I was to have the advanced care and facilities which people in 3rd world countries can only dream of. I was very impressed by the dedication and hard work of the staff at the centre.

I was also lucky to meet the Maharaja of Jodhpur who invited us to his Palace, we had a lot to share as his son had a accident and also suffered a brain injury and was in hospital for a long time. Like us, he also wanted to help others who could not afford treatment and he opened IHIF Centres both in Jodhpur and Delhi. He was very kind to us. All the people in Jodhpur were so good to us and made sure our trip was perfect. This journey made me aware that I needed to do more to help others.

If you want to help please visit our Charity http://www.onekindact.org and see the work we are doing.

A Childs Mind Is A Beautiful Thing We Strive to Protect It ”                                                                                                       

 

 

 

My memories at Oliver Goldsmith Primary School

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From a young age I knew that I wanted to work with children and I couldn’t wait to be a teacher when I grew up. Starting at OGPS was like a dream come true, the staff were all so lovely and I settled in really quickly. We all looked after each other and it was like a group of friends working together. I asked some of my colleagues to write a memory that they had of when we worked together which I wanted to share with you.  – Alisha Malhotra

I miss the sound of your heels coming down the corridor in the morning shouting my name and singing a song. I’d pop my head out to say morning and you would always have a smile beaming from ear to ear; excited for the day ahead to nurture all the young minds. You were a fabulous teacher… you always went above and beyond at school; your ambition and positivity shone brightly daily. We had some amazing days and made some wonderful memories that I will cherish. You are one determined, positive and inspirational person.

Jaina Varsani

Alisha was the first teacher I worked with at OGPS. She was unlucky enough  to have a very difficult class  and an unexperienced teaching assistant with her that year. We both had a difficult year then but we managed to get over it . Her teaching was amazing,  myself and the children would admire her a lot . Competitive, ambitious she would ask me to work days for a display. I am sure she will be able to become again the fantastic teacher she used to be.

Mariana Bachu

The first time I met you was when we both had our interview on the same day for Oliver Goldsmith. I was sat in the staff room, trying my best to revise for the interview. In you walk, flicking your hair, lots of perfume and laughing really loudly at something. I think I smiled at you and then went back to my notes. Next thing, I was bombarded with 4 hundred questions at once.
Hi
Whats your name?
How old are you?
Where do you work?
Where do you live?
How did your lesson go?
(All these questions were asked without you taking a breath) I tried to answer these questions politely but secretly I was thinking, I really need to get ready for my interview.
Then you turned around and said, ‘I’ve already been offered a job, a permanent contract, working at another school but I told them, they need to wait till I see how today goes.’ Then I got called out to do the lesson and you shouted out ‘good luck’ and I remember thinking ‘enough, go and accept that other job’ I was not your biggest fan at this stage. I love that we can laugh at this story together now. When I got to know you better, I realised what a caring, bubbly, generous girl you were. I am just so thrilled that I am lucky enough to have you as my friend.

Lisa Dowling

I remember walking into your classroom every morning and being greeted with a wave and your beautiful smile. You were always sitting among the children and your class was such a happy one. You had a real talent for teaching and were so wonderful and patient with the children. I miss your smile.

Helen Deckett

 I still remember meeting Alisha for the first time five years ago in the staffroom at OGPS on the first day of our new jobs there. Being the same age and with eerily similar interests, we hit it off straight away and before long she became my partner in crime around school. We were constantly mistaken for each other, and though I can’t speak for Alisha, I always took that as a massive compliment, after all she is passionate, warm and ridiculously beautiful inside and out!

Our first year at OGPS was the golden year, where Alisha made her mark in school as being not only an outstanding teacher but also as a passionate philanthropist. She was promoted fairly quickly and her drive and impact in school was a constant source of inspiration to me as her friend and colleague. She wanted to do it all, and was often seen bustling around school implementing new mental health schemes, running a healthy food and relax club, organizing charitable events and teaching not only children, but staff too on the importance of promoting a positive mind set in children: she instilled principles in everyone she has taught and worked alongside that will last a life time.

Outside of school she was my dancing partner and our friendship was built on a foundation of shared lunches (me mostly finishing her lunch) and love hearts (the sweets I’d buy and leave in her room to apologies for eating her lunch). We were into the same music, had the same love/hate relationship with fitness and loved to binge watch the same ridiculous films together. We would agree to disagree on things and had the same irritations and closeness that sisters would have. Suffice to say, when I walked into school and was told the news about Alisha I remember going into a quiet classroom and praying. I am not a religious person, but I knew that if anyone needed to live, thrive and be here to make that amazing difference- it was her. Her path to recovery is an absolute inspiration and I know it is an ongoing one. We all continue to marvel at her going from strength to strength, at the smile she puts on her face even when she doesn’t feel like doing so and the patience she has with all of us when life gets busy and our communication become delayed. We always pick it back up, and I am so grateful for that. I look forward to being there to make new memories and to witness all of the wonderful things I know Alisha will go on to achieve and has been achieving to date.

Arti Patel

Observing Alisha teach an interview lesson for a job at Oliver Goldsmith Primary School, sticks in my mind as one of my teaching highlights, and I’ve been teaching for a long time. She came into my Year 2 class like a whirlwind. She’d brought loads of resources to stimulate the children into writing about the Seaside. There were books, seaside accessories such as sunglasses, hats, buckets, spades, sand, you name it, and it was in my classroom. She’d even brought seaside music which was played in the background. To be honest, I wondered where the ice cream, cockles and mussels were!   She had a calm, yet exciting way with the class. Unsurprisingly she was given the job and came to teach a Year One Class.

She brought energy, positivity and passion into the school. She strove to develop her own practice and was promoted quickly. Alisha adored her job and the children, parents and staff have much affection and respect for her. She was a highly valued member of staff. I have never met anyone as passionate about teaching. When Alisha suffered her stroke Oliver Goldsmith Primary School lost a highly valuable member of staff.

However, Alisha continues to shine, always puts a smile on her face, works so very hard to improve herself and now develop her own literacy and numeracy skills. I am sure that Alisha will continue to make her mark on the world, helping others in her unique way. She is someone I have been privileged to call a friend.

Ann Weinstock-Driscoll 

The first thing that struck me about Alisha when she started at Oliver Goldsmith Primary was her dedication and enthusiasm. I was constantly amazed by her love and energy for teaching.

Her focus was always her children and how to do the best by them and her children loved her for it. She was definitely a ‘favourite’ teacher and children counted themselves lucky to be in her class. When going into her class there was a regular addition of posters which were all over her walls. Anything and everything positive and motivating. Lots of colorful and bright messages just like her personality really. On any given day she would be singing, dancing and playing games with her class bringing a great element of fun into her classroom.

We worked really well together and developed a good friendship over time. We would regularly chat and laugh on the phone for ages after a working day about school and all manner of things. It was inspiring working alongside her, she reignited my passion for teaching and bought in fresh and new ideas to our team. Her energy and giving nature not only spread to her class but the staff. Always ready to give people a hug and literally bouncing into the staffroom! A bundle of energy.

Alisha is such an advocate for supporting causes. She headed charities at our school and had a knack for getting children excited about the cause and the staff signing up to help. Being a people person she would inspire others to support in whichever way they could.

Alisha is a perfectionist. I have always admired her dedication and focus to whatever she put her mind to. She has been such a lovely addition to my life and I’m glad we were able to become friends.

Marleen Brown

Full of energy, positivity and friendliness – that’s what I thought of Alisha after I met her for the first time.

Before I joined OGPS I was lucky enough to meet Alisha through a friend. I felt a sense of relief to be meeting someone who I knew would be starting at the same time. As I walked into the coffee shop, I remember thinking what would she be like? Would I get on with her? Within seconds, I felt a sense of warmth and knew Alisha was someone who I could see becoming a great friend and colleague.

I knew Alisha had arrived in school as soon as I heard relaxing music from her classroom. We would always have chats about the school day and I would always leave the conversation with a smile.

Alisha is full of inspiring ideas and whenever I walked in her class I could see her positivity and enthusiasm were reflected by the children. Alisha has an infectious smile and it is clear that the children feel happy with her. She always strives to do her best and works extremely hard to give the children the best opportunities to succeed. Alisha was quickly promoted and I remember saying that the role on promotion was a perfect match for her. She believed strongly in nurturing the children and encouraging a positive mindset which reminds us all how important this is in order to foster children’s well being.

Alisha is a great friend and colleague who has always been there for me. I feel so privileged to know someone who is so optimistic, inspiring and positive and look forward to sharing many more memories together.

Krishna Dhall

Where do I begin? I remember Alisha when she worked at OGPS; her smile and positive attitude, her enthusiasm and inspiration, her warmth and passion for life and for the children she taught. We would walked towards each other in the corridor smiling, stop, give each other a hug and laugh. Our words were silent yet so much was said with each embrace.

Alisha loved teaching. She was and is into positive thinking and believed in not just developing children academically but also spiritually and emotionally. She believed in every child and every child mattered. Sadly as we returned to school on the 4th of January for a training day the staff were told of Alisha’s critical condition. I was filled with shock and sadness. There was a solemn atmosphere at school, all thoughts were with Alisha and her family. How could this happen to someone so young? There was a great fear that Alisha would not pull through but we knew that Alisha was a fighter with great inner strength.

Alisha had to re-learn how to do everything. She has made phenomenal progress. She is one determined young woman. I remember her excitement when we went to Golders Hill Park and saw the animals. There was always excitement in learning new words. There was a thirst for knowledge, a drive to learn and be the Alisha she used to be. She was determined to be back in the classroom teaching which was her life. There was frustration because she knew but somehow could not remember the names of things.

Alisha you have been inspirational and throughout your journey to recovery you have always aspired to help others. You have looked positively at all you have and through the charity have looked at those less fortunate. You have the love and support of family and friends which are a blessing. You do not give up but strife to achieve and have gratitude for all life has to offer. New and exciting things lie ahead for you because you are the type of person who will make things happen; one door closes and another door opens with different opportunities and experiences.

Lina Yerolemou

4 January 2016 was an inset day. I was so excited to go back to school. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, and that morning I suffered from a stroke. I had never called in sick while being a teacher.

Thank you to everyone, all the staff and children for making my 3 years at OGPS so enjoyable. I will cherish all the memories I made, and the friendships will stay with me forever. I know this isn’t the end of my teaching career, there is lots ahead of me and I can’t wait to get back into the classroom doing what I love.

Alisha  Malhotra

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Facing Reality

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After the summer holidays everyone went back to work and I found this difficult, as I was at home and I didn’t know what I was going to do. Not going back to teaching was very hard, however I knew I had to keep motivated and look for other options. I started looking at various voluntary work and have started helping children in a nursery and I am also getting more involved in charitable work . I have also joined various stroke and aphasia groups which not only help by sharing their experiences but also help others others by bringing awareness to people with brain injury.  I have also been doing things on my own which I previously could not do, like learning to use public transport. I was scared, I was anxious, but I carried on and I did it. Perseverance is key and every day I am making positive steps.

This year I have drifted away from many people who I used to be very close to. People are busy with their own lives and I have found this difficult to accept as I am struggling to move forward. However I am also blessed to have many people who have stood by me and supported me throughout.

In January is the OKA Charity Step A-Head ball, which is an event to raise awareness of brain injury and stroke. I have been involved in planning it and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to raise money for those in need.

On the surface it seems like everything is ok, but deep down there are still feelings of emptiness, frustration and resentment, but I will overcome this in time.

The most important thing for me now is to reach out to as many people as I can, to assist, to share and to give back to the community.

“When one door closes another opens”

 

Following my Brain Injury in January 2016, I did a phased return to school which was a challenge and although I tried not to show my frustrations, I had to work very hard with basic tasks repeatedly.

From someone who could not say mum or dad, I learnt the names of 25 children in 2 weeks. I could not open and start reading a basic children’s book, so I had to practice at home, page by page, word by word, before I got it right.

I learnt registration, songs, phonics and taught relaxation to kids which I had done before.

At times, I would sleep 2 -3 hours a night but was still determined to go to work.

My return to School has helped me immensely and has benefited me considerably.

The Oliver Gold Smith family have played a such large part in my recovery and I am so grateful.

From a young child, I always wanted to be a teacher and I worked hard to make sure I achieved my goal. Before my injury, I had been promoted and had a very bright future.

One morning everything changed and my dreams were shattered.

The years I was teaching were some of the best years of my life and I have many memories that I will cherish forever.

Communication is the most important part of teaching and communication is where I have the most difficulty. I have Aphasia which effects communication and causes problems with everyday tasks such as using emails, telephone, following conversations, spelling, grammar, numbers and so on.

To accept that I will no longer be able to teach is hard to comprehend and I won’t lie, I find it difficult to accept.

My life has changed and will never be the same.

I have many thoughts of what to do next but at present everyone tells me to take a break and not to rush into anything.

I will continue to work with kids but I am not sure in what capacity.

What the future hold for me only time will tell.

(My thoughts written with the help of my family and friends)