Steve Davies had two strokes in January 2019 when he was just 35. Now he's using his passion for racing cars to raise awareness of stroke and money to help other stroke survivors.
'I had a week of headaches, then woke one night feeling sick and in excruciating pain,' remembers Steve.
'After the strokes, I had left-sided weakness and couldn't speak for a while. My moods went up and down and I had continual headaches, which I still get now.
'But there's so much I haven't done, and I could have lost it all, so I thought 'Right, let's do what I want to do in life'.
I'd never raced before, but had always wanted to, so I bought a Ginetta G40 car. I decided to race and raise money for the Stroke Association, who supported me after my stroke.'
Steve asked his doctor and the DVLA for advice about driving after stroke, but it took him a few months to feel well, confident and safe enough to get back behind the wheel.
'I saw the Ginetta sat in the garage and decided to book a track session. It was hard work. My brain wasn't wired properly, so instead of turning left, I'd turn right, which got us into some daunting situations. But just getting in the car felt like a huge achievement, so I kept practising until I got my racing licence.
'Silverstone was my first race. I was last but I was first in my head - it was incredible.'
Since then, Steve's taken part in races all over the country, raising over £10,000.
We were the Goodwood Group's charity of the year 2022, so Steve was also invited to one of their motor events. 'I brought my Ginetta with the Stroke Association logo on the side. I drove a few laps of the track and it was a fantastic day - we raised about £800.
'I think of it as my job to raise money for the Stroke Association now, as not everyone's as lucky as I've been. I also want people to know that there is life after stroke. It can get lonely in your own head, so positivity and setting goals are big things for me. I know not everyone can just buy a car, but have something to aim for and be determined to do it, even if it takes time to get there.'
Find out more
Read our 'Driving after stroke' guide for more information about getting back behind the wheel.
And discover how you can take on your own fundraising challenge.
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the winter 2022 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.