Yvonne’s CHS food challenge

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Student dietician, Yvonne Cassidy, has completed her very own “versus food” challenge to raise awareness of dysphagia and raise money for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, the local health charity which provides support and rehab for stroke survivors.

Yvonne’s take on a “versus food” challenge was to follow a special diet of pureed food and thickened fluids for a week, replicating the diet that stroke survivors with dysphagia, which is difficulty in swallowing, often have to follow to reduce their risk of choking.

She decided to follow this diet for a week after her grandmother, Marie, was diagnosed with dysphagia following her stroke at the end of last year. Yvonne undertook the challenge while on a university placement at Altnagelvin Hospital earlier this year.

Yvonne explained: “As a student studying dietetics at Ulster University (Coleraine campus), the insight that this challenge has given me will also be invaluable in my future career.”

The food was provided free by Wiltshire Foods and the thickening agent and oral nutritional supplements by Nutricia.

Steph Ellis, from NICHS, said: “To date Yvonne has raised a fabulous £700 which will pay for one stroke survivor to attend a Stroke Activity Group for 15 months. NICHS support groups provide a safe environment for survivors to open up and talk to others.”