Meet Sydney Priest
It was noon when Sydney Priest came home after a full morning class. She was not only a med student but also her class president at A.T. Still University—Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Not long after eating lunch she began to feel ill. She was dizzy and started throwing up. Sydney thought she would be okay, but in a short amount of time she lost her arm strength and could no longer enter in the password to unlock her iPhone. It was then that Sydney knew she was in real danger.
Both Sydney’s mom and boyfriend sent friends over to her house to check on her because she wasn’t responding to their text messages. “I was home alone and I always lock the door to the house, but for some reason, on this particular day I didn’t. Therefore, my friends were able to come in, find me, and call 911,” Sydney remembers. “My dog was really quiet when my friends entered the house, which was out of character for him. He’s always very friendly towards them, so I think he knew something was wrong, too.”
Sydney didn’t know she was suffering a stroke at the time. In fact, she was studying to be a pediatric cardiologist and the lecture on stroke was scheduled to take place two days after her life-changing event.
Sydney was life-flighted to a hospital 90 miles from her college. Later, she underwent extensive rehab for 6 months, to re-learn to walk, talk, and eat. Communicating was initially hard. Without the ability to speak, her family and friends would ask her questions and she’d respond by blinking once for yes and twice for no.
The cause of Sydney’s stroke is still not determined. Today, Sydney has made a complete recovery and recently headed back to school at A.T. Still University in Kirksville. Not only is she walking, but she’s running and completed a 2-mile race in October. She also enjoys wake-boarding and is hoping to get back to doing that this summer. Because of her stroke, Sydney now dreams of going into rehab medicine.