William Martin, a 42-year-old consulting engineer from West Didsbury had a stroke last year.

William had a company health check aged 40 and was told his cholesterol was a little high and that he was slightly overweight. As William was still young and relatively healthy, he didn’t feel concerned. Life was hectic, and William didn’t really have the time to make any lifestyle changes. 

In May 2015, William was eating his breakfast while getting ready for work and as he tried to stand, he felt dizzy and fell to the floor. William had to crawl across the floor to reach his bag, and as he was in no pain, didn’t think anything was seriously wrong. 

Thankfully William’s partner was still at home. Upon hearing a noise, she came downstairs to find William on the floor. She noticed William’s fallen face and slurred speech and, remembering the FAST test, rang an ambulance immediately.

The ambulance arrived within minutes and twenty minutes later William was admitted to a specialist stroke ward. William had had an ischaemic stroke. Luckily, he was discharged the following day but had a long recovery ahead of him.

William has permanent, irreversible brain tissue damage and has psychological, emotional and cognitive difficulties as a result of his stroke.

If William’s partner had not remembered the FAST test and called 999 so quickly, the effects of William’s stroke could have been a lot worse.

The FAST test

Watch our short video to learn how to do the FAST test.

Face: Facial weakness. Look at the person’s face and ask them to smile. Has their face fallen on one side?

Arms: Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both of their arms and keep them there. Are they unable to raise one arm?

Speech: Slurred speech. Ask the person to tell you their name, or say ‘hello’. Is their speech slurred?

Time: If you spot any of the above signs, always call 999.

Learn it. Share it. You could save a life.