Bob was 42 years old when he displayed the F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) signs one morning when getting out of bed. Despite a stroke and facing other difficult health issues, Bob trained as a volunteer StrokeSafe Speaker in 2019 and never fails to bring enthusiasm, positivity and laughter to every event he attends.
How did a stroke change your life initially, and what medical treatment and rehabilitation have you had?
I woke up with a start, and found I’d lost all feeling down the right side of my body (it took a few times falling over to be absolutely totally sure), couldn’t write proper sentences or even answer questions without muddling my words. Turns out I was 42 at the time, and not 24 as I kept saying - maybe wishful thinking on my part.
Somehow I'd had two simultaneous strokes, and no-one could tell me why. After pushing and pushing for answers I finally had a private Cardiologist diagnose a hole in my heart. After my stroke and heart surgery, I was determined to get my life back on track immediately. I started slow laps of the ward, and while clinging to my IV stand I built up my stamina. Eventually I was able to run as part of my recovery.
Who has been there to help you through your stroke journey?
My wife Bec and kids, Casper and Huey, supported me the whole time. Through the stroke, heart operation and cancer.
What advice would you give a survivor of stroke?
Even if you can’t run, get up and see the sunrise every day. The surest way to start feeling better about the future is meet it head on. Run into the sunrise. Don’t just run at it. Attack it. Make the day yours.