This is a brief introduction into my life’s background.
I was born in Blackpool Victoria Hospital on the night of the 30th October 1995 around 23:45PM.. (yes I was almost a Halloween baby)!
I led a similar life to that of many of my peers in my first few years as a young child. I was, and still am a part of a close knit family. I attended pre-school, kicked a football around, rode my red fireman Sam bike and went to my friend’s birthday parties. I guess you could have described me as a typical little boy.
This was until the 14th Feb 2000 when my life changed completely. At first, my Mum, Sheena was concerned that I seemed unwell when I was unable to keep up with the pace on a family walk. Mum explains now that I had complained about having had a poorly head on the walk. That night I was sick in my bedroom, so Mum put me in the bath to help clean me up. Whilst she was bathing me, she noticed that my face appeared to droop to one side and when trying to get me out of the bath, my legs subsequently had turned to jelly. It was only then, that everybody realised that something was not quite right.
My family took me to the local drop-in centre in Blackpool as it was around 20:00pm. Here the staff were immediately concerned, so my family were told to rush me straight to the Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
It was here, that a specialist was called out from their own home to use the scanning machines. Around 2.00am I was transferred by ambulance to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. I have absolutely no recollection of any of this happening. My family still remember it all vividly and describe it as a horrific nightmare.
After numerous tests and scans I was diagnosed with having had a severe stroke resulting in a left sided hemiplegia as well as a speech impediment.
In the proceeding weeks I underwent rehabilitation via many different avenues. I had educational psychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy where the staff helped me to walk and to use my left hand again. This was particularly challenging as I was born left handed!
After around a month of intense therapy I was allowed to go home. My family were told the same amount of therapy should continue at Blackpool. This evidently did not happen. The doctors indicated that I would not need as much therapy due to my young age. They explained how I would automatically learn how to use different muscles when going through the growth process. Due to my left sided weakness my body struggled and I therefore would have benefited from more therapy. With this in mind, I was unable to make the recovery that everybody had hoped for.
18 years later, I can proudly say through many ups and downs that I have achieved a great deal. Academically I gained 10 A*-C GCSE’s; an A in ICT and two B’s in Classical Civilization and English Language at A-Level as well as recently graduating with a 2:1 in English Language from Edge Hill University having spent 3 years living independently away from home.
Without the support from my family and friends, I would not have been able to achieve what I have today. In addition, I am also really fortunate to have such a caring and loving girlfriend who has always been there for me.
Growing up from the young age of 4 suffering from a stroke has certainly been challenging. Throw into the mix a temperamental speech stammer and things can get rather difficult. Every one has choices, and looking back my choice was and still is at the age of 22 to not let a disability define the person I am today.