A fit and healthy welder, 20, has told how his life completely changed one morning after a devastating stroke came out of the blue.
Callum Chadwick had been at home getting ready for work in September last year, when he suddenly lost his balance and could not walk or talk.
Terrifyingly, Mr Chadwick from Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, was also left paralysed down the right-hand side of his body.
He had to spend seven worrying days in hospital as medics carried out tests to see what had caused his stroke out of the blue as he feared for what he future would be like.
Tests later revealed he had suffered a stroke caused by an undetected hole in his heart which had been there since birth. Callum is now awaiting heart surgery to repair the defect, he says.
After 10 months Callum bounced back and has been discharged from physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.
He now wants to raise £1,000 for the Stroke Association by embarking on a challenging coast-to-coast bike ride with his family next month.
He said: “Strokes do not discriminate; it can happen to all people of all ages from all walks of life. It happened to me 10 months ago back in September 2020.
“This day changed my life forever. Prior to a stroke I was regularly active and lived a healthy lifestyle. There is no stroke history in my family.
“On the morning of September 15, 2020, I was getting ready for work, going about my routine at home as normal and then out of nowhere I lost my balance and fell unwell, I could not walk or communicate and lost all my ability in the right side of my body.
“Luckily, my family were present in that moment and realised very quickly they needed to act and ring for an ambulance.”
After spending a day and half in Burton’s Queen’s Hospital a MRI scan revealed that Callum had suffered an ‘ischemic stroke’ caused by a blood clot that had cut off the blood flow in an artery to the brain.
In Callum’s case affecting the cerebellum which is a part of the brain that controls co-ordination, precision and timing of movements.
He said: “A million questions run through your head I was so confused, What does this mean? Will I get my feeling back? Will I be able to walk again? What’s caused it? A million questions that simply cannot be answered.
“I was quickly transferred to Royal Derby Hospital and put on the stroke ward. The help and support I received in the most difficult fight of my life was tremendous, emotionally and physically. In hospital I was undergoing scans and tests to get to the cause of the stroke. I was also receiving physio treatment twice a day starting off with recognising colours and trying to touch the right shapes.
“I was in hospital for seven days and was still pending tests, but when you come out that is not it; that’s where recovery starts. I left hospital in a wheelchair and with a walking frame for in house use, still without the ability to control my right side of my body.
“I was so scared but determined to get back to how I used to be and I knew that doing the physio would be the only way, so I gave it my all doing exercises daily.
“Day by day it was all about the little wins in recovery, shared with family and close friends. The time I went from my walking frame to a stick, and then further down the line stick to little steps on my own it was an indescribable feeling. But sadly this does not happen for everyone and I felt extremely grateful for how far I have come.”
Callum has now returned to work on a phased basis and is determined to raise funds to help other stroke victims after his experience.
He will be riding with members of his family from Whitehaven in Cumbria, to Sunderland, totalling 136 miles in four days, from August 19 to 23.