LIVING in a town renowned for its volatile windy weather is no longer a concern for stroke survivor Jasmine West.
The upbeat 28-year-old credits boxing classes for restoring her confidence and giving her back another slice of independence.
Now, after six months of twice weekly boxing sessions at Rodney 'Rudy' Ryan's Warrnambool gym, she is daring to dream about running again.
The weather forecast's importance on her everyday life has also reduced.
"My balance has improved and I am walking a lot better and I am not so scared of the wind so much anymore," West said.
"That sounds silly but I was terrified of the wind because I didn't have any stability but now I feel much stronger in myself."
West's limbs, particularly her right side, were impacted when she fell ill three years ago and was placed on life support at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.
Her can-do attitude has helped her tick off a plethora of goals since - she lives independently, drives, volunteers at the Salvation Army and has applied to study health science at Deakin University next year.
But the once avid runner found walking, particularly without the aid of a stick, tricky given the stroke had impacted her spatial awareness.
"Before I came here I was quite hesitant to walk without anything because I didn't feel safe on my right side," she said.
West, who suffered locked-in syndrome after her stroke, works with Ryan to improve her gross motor skills.
They catch and throw balls, use resistance bands and do squats and medicine ball exercises. They were chosen to help reignite and stimulate the nerve pathways and muscle memory.
"My vision wasn't affected and my cognitive abilities aren't affected at all," she said.
"Everyone is fantastic here. They're so nice. That is where my confidence came to fruition because I was a bit scared of being judged but everyone is lovely and really supportive."
West grew up in Portland but said she'd lived a "nomadic lifestyle" before settling in Warrnambool a decade ago.
She moved out of home at 16 and was working three jobs, including one at a hospital, when she had her stroke on July 15, 2016.
She was just 25 when her life turned upside down but she believes it took a dramatic event to give her perspective.
She ended a relationship and decided to focus on a career which satisfied her.
"I was locked in my own body and I couldn't talk or move. I had a tracheotomy as well," West said of the early stages of her recovery.
"I could only blink. I had that for a couple of months.
"I was mentally aware. I knew everything everyone was saying to me and I couldn't respond except blink. When I got the tracheotomy out it healed and I started talking again.
"I started eating again, drinking again and walking and five months later I walked out of hospital. Here I am standing now, able to drive and I live on my own. It's been hard though and there's been very dark days."
Boxing has given West, who believes her pre-stroke fitness levels aided with her recovery, more than just physical benefits.
She boxed before she fell ill and earlier this year decided the time was right to return to the gym, in whatever capacity. "I was bored at home and I thought 'I need something' and I was sick of therapy," West said.
So far it's had the desired effect.
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