"My job before was as an English teacher. But now I can't read or write."
Paul was 40 years old when he had a stroke in 2016. He was an actor and teacher at the time: "I was going to show my wife Suzi something on my phone but I couldn't move my right-hand side. She looked at me and said, 'What's wrong with your face?' At first, she thought I was joking around. "
The hospital gave Paul a 10% chance he'd survive his operation. But he received the new thrombectomy treatment and pulled through. "I remember having a conversation in my head with myself. A list of things I'd do afterwards - lose weight, get fit, get better, do things, change my life, change my habits. And that's pretty much what I've followed since.
"My job before was as an English teacher. But now I can't read or write, so my job is to help other stroke survivors. I work with stroke survivor groups and talk to people about how to find hope in the little bits and pieces." Paul saw fantastic progress with his speech after attending our Communication Support Service and soon became a volunteer Stroke Association Ambassador.
Two years post stroke, he trekked an incredible 791 km across northern Spain and France to fundraise for us and help other stroke survivors rebuild their lives.
Our Rebuilding Lives campaign
Paul features in our Rebuilding Lives campaign. Find out more about the campaign and watch the film here.
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.