Stroke survivor calls for support

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An Aylesbury man paralysed by a stroke aged 56 is calling on people to help the charity that gave him hope.

Richard Wright, who suffered a stroke in 2013 and is now on the road to recovery, is challenging people across Buckinghamshire to support to the Stroke Association during its campaign this month.

The charity’s fundraising initiative ‘Give a Hand’ will see people across the UK complete an everyday activity using the hand they wouldn’t normally use from Monday, October 26 until November 1.

Richard had been on a bike ride when he started to get a migraine and later starting coughing.

He said: “It was a really unusual coughing fit, which alerted my wife Helen to rush down to see what was wrong with me. She immediately suspected something was seriously wrong and rang the emergency services straight away. I remember hearing her say on the phone that she thought I was having a stroke.

“I couldn’t believe this, as I thought strokes only happened to older or unfit people. Fortunately, with Helen’s quick thinking and acting, an ambulance arrived in about ten minutes, and I was whisked off to Wycombe General Hospital where I was told that I had had a serious stroke.”

The stroke left Richard with left side paralysis which made it impossible for him to walk or even stand up.

He added: “Mentally and emotionally it was really hard at first. I couldn’t accept what had happened to me and why it was me that it should it had happened to. Two years ago I thought I would never walk again but this year, against all odds, I took part in a sponsored Step Out for Stroke walk in Aylesbury for The Stroke Association. My goal was to walk half a mile, and that’s exactly what I did. It took me two and a half hours but in the process I raised around £1,400 for the charity.

“When I crossed the line at the end I felt on top of the world. I couldn’t have done it without my family and friends who have helped me enormously throughout this ordeal, and also those amazing people at the Stroke Association. They have been an absolute Godsend.

“After you have had a stroke life can feel like you’ve been cast adrift in a very small rowing boat in the middle of the ocean, with no oars, no sail, no company, no ideas, no anything to help at all. That is until you meet who I call, the ‘A-team’, also known as the Stroke Association. They help you remember that where there is life, there is always hope. By getting involved with ‘Give a Hand,’ hopefully many more people will able to help change the world for stroke survivors. The vital funds raised for the Stroke Association will help people like me who are on the road to recovery but still rely on the invaluable support from the charity.”

Michelle Bowdidge, regional fundraiser at the Stroke Association, said: “A stroke strikes in an instant but its effects can last a lifetime. Three quarters of stroke survivors lose the use of one of their hands. Often people affected by stroke have to re-learn to do the things they’ve always done – but using their other hand. The Stroke Association supports people through this rehabilitation.

“We’re calling on people to ‘Give a Hand’ this October and raise funds by completing a task, or several, using their ‘other’ hand. By taking part and raising funds for the Stroke Association, we can help more people like Richard to conquer stroke.”

To find out more about ‘Give a Hand,’ visit www.stroke.org.uk/giveahand to download or request a fundraising pack. For more information about stroke call the helpline on 0303 3033 100.