Alan was 72 when he had his stroke.  He first noticed the symptoms when he stumbled on the bus coming back from a football match. 

"The symptoms gradually got worse, but never did I think I was having a stroke.  It took two days for me to get to the GP who realised it was a stroke.  He told me to go to the hospital.  I waited ages for a scan – I wish I’d gone straight to A&E when the symptoms started."

Despite it being a small clot, it was in a particularly important part of the brain. It took two days for the full effects of the stroke to present themselves, by which time Alan was completely paralysed down one side.  

"I couldn’t stop crying.  I had always been fit and healthy, never had a cold even and here I now was being asked questions about my will and bank account.  I thought I was dying – I was never going to be the same again."

"I had to be lifted in a hoist to get to the Royal Victoria rehab hospital and the staff there were amazing, particularly my physio.  Exercise was to become my focus in getting my life back again.  I went from a hoist to a wheelchair, Zimmer, tripod and eventually a walking stick.  I can now walk unaided at home, but tend to use my stick if going longer distances."

"I got some help from the occupational therapist (OT) at the start of my recovery and some speech and language therapy, but that stopped very quickly after I came home."

"I am happy with the movement I’ve regained and have joined a stroke exercise group. I also go to the hydrotherapy pool, have returned to a bit of gardening and have gone back to attending football matches. Life has improved from the days I was in hospital, but I’ll never be the same again."

When stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down. And so does a part of you. Life changes instantly and recovery is tough. But the brain can adapt. Our specialist support, research and campaigning are only possible with the courage and determination of the stroke community. With more support from .you, we can rebuild even more lives.

Every five minutes, stroke destroys lives. Help us rebuild them.

Find out more about our Rebuilding Live campaign and share our ad to support our work.