The Christmas of 1991 was unforgettable for the Harrison family. It was a week before that Christmas when 47-year-old Kathy Harrison collapsed whist getting out of the shower. Hearing his wife fall to the floor, Dennis dashed to Kathy’s aid. He was distressed to discover that she couldn’t move or speak.
Kathy was rushed to hospital. Luckily, she received prompt medical attention and her stroke was spotted quickly. In spite of this early diagnosis, the impact of Kathy’s stroke was devastating. The stroke affected Kathy’s speech and took away her ability to swallow. For Dennis, having to watch the once vivacious woman he’d been married to for 24 years being fed through a drip was gut-wrenching.
“I was powerless to help her,” Dennis said.
“It felt like we’d been violently mugged. Without invitation and without choice my wife had been robbed of so much.”
Years of therapy saw Kathy slowly start to regain some of the basic functions the stroke had cruelly taken away from her.
But as she says, “You never quite get over a stroke and what you’ve lost.
“I used to love playing golf to a high standard before my stroke. But afterwards, I found it terribly hard. I was frustrated that I couldn’t play like I had done in the past. I’ve stopped playing now because I wasn’t able to enjoy it.”
Kathy and Dennis don’t want stroke to keep taking away the things people love, which is why both of them have left a gift in their Will to Stroke Foundation.