“I woke up and everything was spinning. I lost my mobility, vision and speech.”

Baz had a stroke 11 days after his 32nd birthday in 1992: “I went to bed and woke up with a massive sharp pain in my head. I screamed out. My left leg shot up, then my right leg. I rolled over and was sick.”

Baz was in hospital for three weeks, followed by six months of physiotherapy. “I woke up on the ward with everything spinning, my body felt warped. I lost my mobility on the right-hand side and part of my vision. My speech was gone. I couldn’t get out of the wheelchair. I remember the doctor saying, ‘If I were you, I’d learn to write with your left hand’. I was devastated.

“For months afterwards I felt horrible. I wanted to die. I still get upset when I think about it. Stroke is awful, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

Baz’s recovery has been long and tough. Over the course of 27 years, he’s been slowly rebuilding his life. “The work it took me to get into the position I’m in now is unbelievable. I’d bounce a ball against a wall for ages to rebuild strength in my arm. I took up Japanese and Spanish – articulating words in different languages was good physio for my mouth and tongue.”

Baz completed the Thames Bridges Bike Ride for the Stroke Association – just one of his many achievements during his lifelong recovery. 

Recovery is tough, but with the right specialist support and a ton of courage and determination, the brain can adapt. Our specialist support, research and campaigning are only possible with the courage and determination of the stroke community.

Please consider making a donation if you can to help us rebuild more lives.

Samaritans provide confidential, emotional support, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call the Samaritans on 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org.