A Charles Page High School graduate continues to recover from a stroke that happened during the summer before her junior year. Lindsey Prince, 18, was just 16 years old when she suffered a stroke the day she was to leave to finish band camp.
“It’s hard to put words to it 'cause it’s something that you’ve never felt before, and people start asking you all the time, 'What was it?' - and it’s a great question,” Prince said.
The teen said at the time she didn’t even know what was happening. Her parents thought it was a pinched nerve.
“I didn’t even realize how bad the situation was until my dad was sitting next to me to comfort me. He would pat my leg, but I didn’t realize he was doing that until I looked down and saw it. I couldn’t feel it at all," Prince said.
Prince had already finished one week of band camp and was about to leave for another week when the stroke happened. She joked through laughter that the timing worked out well.
“I never say that a stroke is a good thing, but I always like to say that out of all the stokes I could have, I had a pretty good one," she said.
Prince was upbeat and very charismatic throughout the interview, but her mother, Lori Prince, remembers times of frustration, tears, and concerns about her future.
“The stroke hit her harder than we thought as far as being able to march and hold the instrument,” Lori said.
Prince started playing in her school’s band in the 6th grade. She plays the baritone for marching and concert band. She plays the trombone for jazz band. Her stroke, which affected the right side of her body, made it initially nearly impossible to perform.
Prince had to learn how to play again. She also had to learn how to write, walk and read again. Her family was in disbelief telling us that they thought strokes were something that happens to older people and not teenagers.
“If you would have told me a year before the stroke had happened that your daughter wouldn’t be able to tie her shoes being 16 and a half, I would have been like 'yeah right, she’s been able to tie her shoes forever,'” Lori said.
Prince was determined not to let the unexpected stroke bring her down. With her younger sister helping along the way, she was determined through physical therapy to learn how to play the baritone and trombone again.
“I remember the first time I came home from the hospital. I had my whole show memorized and you really couldn’t tell it. Ah, it as the worst feeling,” she said.
During her junior year, Prince made it to every jazz band performance and during her senior year she got out on the field again to march. A feat that really moved her band instructor, Kyle Wright, and her 120 classmates.
“Any time they’re hurting or are having difficulties, it’s really tough,” Wright said.
He said he couldn’t recall a time when Prince was depressed or complained about what happened, but focused on being the best that she could be, even through the physical limitations that she had at the time.
Nearly two years to the day of her stroke, on August 9, Lindsey Prince is driving, working, and in school with a goal of working in optometry to help stroke victims during visual rehab.
She still has tremors in her right hand but they’re getting better, her right arm and leg both feel “heavy” as she explains what limitations she has still from the stroke. She still plays the trombone and the baritone, and is eager to help others that have been through a similar experience, despite their age.