Graham's story

Graham Goddard was using a chain saw to cut through tree roots in his garden when he suffered a major stroke.

“I started to experience a numbness in my left hand similar to white knuckle syndrome. I ceased using the saw and turned to my wife who was nearby,“ he said.

Luckily Maureen had seen the Act F.A.S.T. advertisement on TV, and noticing that Graham’s face had dropped on one side, she recognised the signs and thought he was having a stroke.

She immediately dialled 999 for an ambulance and Graham was taken to Basildon Hospital A&E where they diagnosed a bleed on the brain.

There then followed months of physiotherapy, first at Basildon Hospital and then at Brentwood Community Hospital as a patient on the Thorndon Ward. Graham was finally able to return to his Billericay home two months later where he received further home treatments and support.

The former quantity surveyor and contracts consultant said: “Two weeks before my stroke I had purchased a luxury car for my forthcoming retirement and this for me was the catalyst that gave me the willpower and aided my recovery”.

Post-stroke, Graham surrendered his driving licence voluntarily and five months later was back on the road, behind the wheel of his beloved motor.

More than six years on from his stroke Graham, now 71, and retired, is living life to the full...driving, going on holidays and fulfilling his passion for woodwork using power tools.

He works tirelessly as a volunteer for a number of health organisations including NELFT NHS Foundation Trust and Basildon & Thurrock University Hospital Trust. He is involved in the work of Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as a member of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) at his GP Practice and an attendee of the Arterial locality Patient Engagement Group (PEG).

Graham, a father-of-two, is keen to tell others his stroke story. To his knowledge, sharing his personal experience to raise awareness of the ACT F.A.ST. campaign has helped save the lives of at least two local stroke victims.

He said: “I want to show how good the ACT F.A.S.T. campaign is and to give encouragement to others unfortunate to suffer a stroke, showing that with strong willpower, they can also make their lives rewarding.

“My advice to other stroke sufferers is to follow the leads you are given by the physios, occupational therapists and others. The more you put into it, the more you will reap rewards. In simple words – don’t give up.

“If you are a driver surrender your driving licence – check with the latest DVLA regulations.

“Do not give up as a close friend of ours did and unfortunately did not make it. There are many associations that can help you, such as DIAL (Disabled Information & Advice Line) which covers Basildon and south Essex. There are many devices available to assist in recovery and I found Saebo equipment a great asset.”

14 March 2017