Natalee's sucess story

Almost two years after suffering a massive stroke, a Sunbury student has defied the odds once


Natalee Wood was at home in late 2017 when she suffered a grade five bleed brain aneurysm rupture, leading to a severe stroke.

What followed was 12 operations, intensive rehab and more than six months in hospital. Ms Wood,19, also had to learn how to walk and talk again.

After walking into Sunbury Downs College at the start of the year, Ms Wood graduated last week, walking the stage without the help of a walking stick.

“The most difficult thing to manage was doing all the work and balancing everything that was going on,” she said.

“The best part was getting to the end of the year and realising I’d actually done it.”

Ms Wood said she had to learn different processes and strategies for tackling the workload. And she’s already got her sights on the future. Inspired by an “amazing” team of doctors and nurses, Ms Wood wants to become a children’s neurology nurse. “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “But since everything that’s happened, I’ve changed the area I want to specialise in.” Ms Wood is undertaking a six-month bridging course. Next year she’ll move on to study nursing at Victoria University in Melbourne. Proud mum Michelle said it had been “surreal”getting her daughter ready for graduation. “Almost a year ago, I was holding her head in my hands after her last major surgery,” she said. “It’s hard to believe in the last 12 months she’s been able to walk through that school.” Mother and daughter both thanked students, staff and families at Sunbury Downs College for their support.

“I’ve had a lot of great teachers and friends who have supported me this year,” she said.

Ms Wood had a message for anyone in a similar situation.

“Don’t give up on yourself. “Keep pushing, no matter what,” she said.

“On the bad days, you get up, you get out of bed and you do your physio. If you set yourself little goals along the way, it can set you up for bigger things later on.”