For the first 36 hours it was all he could to make himself understood purely through facial expressions.
It’s fair to say that for a while the couple, who hail from Leigh and have been married for more than 38 years, feared the worst.
But the tenacity that has been the hallmark of father-of-two Ken’s working life meant that he was determined to pull through.
After spending two weeks in hospital, Ken’s rehabilitation began in earnest. Ken’s willingness to learn along with professional help, advice and support he received were vital to his recovery.
Gail says: “Throughout this time Ken and I have had magnificent support. It has been and still remains a huge help to us. We are just a phone call away from a wonderful team of people who we cannot praise highly enough.”
Although he still had memory and speech difficulties and suffers from fatigue, Ken felt well enough to return to work for a while, part-time, before retiring at the age of 62.
Ken regained his active, inquisitive mind and has been driving for over a year. He is now a volunteer for the Stroke Association and is a member of their local Wigan Long-Term Stroke Support Group, which is funded by the Stroke Grant.
“Its feels great to give something back to all the people that helped me,” says Ken.
Every year approximately 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. It’s the third biggest killer and the leading cause for disability. A quarter of strokes happen to people under 65 with around a 1,000 happening to those under 30.
Following the publication of the National Stroke Strategy in 2007, three-year funding has been made available to develop stroke services locally.
There is close partnership working between health and social care services and local community based groups organised by the Stroke Association and the Think Ahead Community Stroke Group. These groups provide emotional and practical help and support to stroke survivors, carers and family members.
For further information contact: Think Ahead Administrator Carol Sankey, on 01942 824888 or email Think Ahead The Think Ahead Community Stroke Group website is Think Ahead (external link)
Heather Mountford, Long Term Stroke Support Coordinator on 01942 863 934 or email Heather Mountford
The Stroke Association website is Stroke Association (external link) or call the stroke helpline on 0303 303 3100.
FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999) is a simple test to help you recognise the signs of a stroke and prompt you to call 999 for immediate emergency treatment.
Better public understanding of stroke, its symptoms and recognising it as a medical emergency will significantly improve the chances of recovery for the 150,000 people who have a stroke every year in the UK.