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The student stroke survivor and the story behind the 'Superstar' necklace

3rd May 2013

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Brighton University graduate Joradanne Cliffe is using her jewellery design skills to raise money for charirty after her close friend Becki suffered a stroke at just 21. Here, she tells her story... 

My biggest inspiration is without a doubt my close friend Becki, whose life changed forever on February 27th 2011. Aged only 21, and still a student, Becki suffered a stroke which left her paralysed on the left side of her body. None of us at uni had any idea that someone so young would be vulnerable to such an attack and we weren’t aware of the steps to take when it did happen. Did you know that 1 in 5 people will have a stroke in their lifetime, and 25% of sufferers are under retirement age?

These days, everyone talks about heroes and icons as celebrities and reality TV stars, but I can safely say that I look up to Becki the most, for her strength in the face of adversity. This is Becki’s story of survival and it is the reason I created the silver ‘Superstar’ necklace which champions the charity ‘Different Strokes’.

At the time of the stroke, we were living in our university town, Brighton. I was studying 3D Material Practice and Becki was studying for a degree in media. We’d reached the spring of our final year, and we had all the great stories to prove it! Being finalists, we were approaching the conclusion to university life - beginning to gear up for our final assessments and then graduation.What happened next came out of nowhere. The stroke left Becki partly paralysed. Initially, she couldn't move her left arm and leg, she was unable to walk, sit-up in bed or even smile.

At uni, students are away from their homes and families. Because of this it’s so important to look out for each other, whether that’s on a night out or just in day-to-day situations. When it comes to strokes, Becki was lucky because she was found in time, and those who found her acted ‘FAST’. This is the NHS campaign for the way to recognise and respond to strokes , which I’ve included below.

Beyond this, Becki had a wonderful support network of friends who could help her through her recovery. Within a year, Becki was literally back on her feet and went back and finished her degree only twelve months later.

I had no idea that strokes can happen to young people and this is when I became aware of the Different Strokes’ charity, as Becki was given a lot of support by them. I am in awe of Becki and have found her determination to recover and her positive attitude inspirational. Using my jewellery design skills, I decided to make the 'Superstar’ necklace for Becki after she appeared on live TV and shared her story. I accompanied her to the studio and watching her tell her story made me want to give Becki something as a reminder of how far she'd come since her stroke and also to remind her ofwhat a superstar I think she is. The 'Superstar' necklace quickly developed after I decided I wanted to raise awareness of strokes in young people. I got to work and set up a website and shop using Moonfruit (the free website builder used by many charities) where I could easily showcase my designs and promotethe ‘Different Strokes’ Superstar collection, raising money through sales of the necklace.

Two years have now passed , and superstar Becki has gone from not being able to sit up or smile, to going to the gym three times a week and having her smile back – which is so great to see!


  • Face - has it drooped on one side?
  • Arms - Can they raise both arms and keep them held up?
  • Speech - is it slurred?
  • Time to call an ambulance!
Jordanne is working with Different Strokes charity, helping to raise money and awareness of strokes in young people by donating  £5 to the charity for every classic silver ‘Superstar’ necklace sold.

Jordanne continues to expand the ‘Superstar’ collection and is using it as a starting point for the other ranges she is now working on, so that the theme behind it is threaded throughout her work.

You can check out Jordanne’s website and portfolio, which is powered by DIY sitebuilder Moonfruit, here. You can read more about Becki’s story on her blog.

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