Read the stories of two incredible stroke survivors taking part in Give a Hand and Bake.
St Helier stroke survivor and budding baker, John Carlow, 61, had a stroke in June 2017. He was celebrating his wife’s birthday when he suddenly collapsed. The stroke left him with a communication difficulty called Aphasia, along with physical, memory and cognitive problems.
John said: “My stroke was a huge shock, and really knocked me and my family. I was determined to not let my stroke stop me from living my life though. I’ve always enjoyed baking, but since having a stroke, baking has really been an important part of my recovery and wellbeing.”
“Baking gives me the opportunity to be free: I get to experiment with bakes and all the time I’m in the kitchen, I’m using areas of my brain which have been hugely affected by my stroke. I’m part of a Stroke Association Group where I often take cakes along. I feel like the cakes are a bit of an icebreaker in the group, especially when new members come along. Everyone enjoys cake, and once I’ve sliced the cake up and given it out, I can sense the group relaxing and opening up. It’s wonderful what my raspberry jam doughnuts can do!
“I’m no Paul Hollywood, but I do get good reviews from everyone who tastes my bakes!”
This year, John is looking forward to supporting Give a Hand and Bake week. Sign up to join him and a community of bakers across the UK hosting bake sales to raise vital funds to rebuild lives after stroke.
In 2011, at only two years old, Beth had a stroke just before Christmas. Her mum, Maria, quickly realized something was wrong and called an ambulance. Beth was taken to A&E, but they didn’t identify it was a stroke for several weeks.
As a result of her stroke, Beth had communication difficulties and right-sided weakness, which means she has to wear a splint on her right foot to stop her leg giving way. With the support of her family and friends, and generous supporters like you, Beth continues to rebuild her life every day. Maria told us: ‘the Stroke Association has offered a listening ear, put us in touch with other similar families and helped us access the help and support we have needed but didn't know was available to us.’ Maria went on to say,
"Baking has given us all a focus as a family to help with Beth’s rehabilitation. She has to work really hard in the kitchen to create her tasty treats, but the hard work she puts in is definitely worth it in the end. Baking not only helps Beth with her mobility, but also helps in other areas which she struggles in, like mathematics. Together we prepare the ingredients we’ll need, and Beth works out the measurements using scales. When it used to come to mixing the ingredients, we only had a bowl and a spoon which Beth struggled with. We’ve since invested in a hands-free electric mixer which means Beth no longer needs to ask for help at this point of her bake.
Seeing Beth move around the kitchen and using both her hands while she’s baking is great. Sometimes she has to stop to take a rest, but she’s so determined to create her tasty treats that she’s back in the kitchen in no time.”
This year, Beth will be taking part in Give a Hand and Bake, baking her much-loved brownies and scones, and we hope you will be too!