Thursday 12th April 2012 started out as an ordinary day like any other. Then at about 2pm, I had a call to tell me that my Dad had fallen whilst at work and had been taken to Charing Cross Hospital. I knew my Dad had a weak knee so it wasn't unexpected that he would suffer from a fall at some point. It was whilst I was on the way to the hospital that we were told he had suffered from a stroke.
I will never forget the first time I saw him laying in that bed. That wasn't my Dad. That wasn't the same man I'd seen only a week or so before when he took photos for my wife and I as we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. That was someone else. Except it WAS my Dad. There were signs that, despite the appearance, his sense of humour and always positive attitude were still there.
I think that was the hardest thing to comprehend. He didn't look like my Dad, but he acted like my Dad. He was my Dad. He IS my Dad and he WILL recover.
Since those early days, I've learnt so much about what a stroke is, how they are caused, the recovery etc. I knew NOTHING before that Thursday, I didn't even really know what a stroke was!
My Dad, like any other stroke victim, has an uphill struggle to recover from this. I have every faith though that he will. Not least because he is the hardest working person I have ever known. Up until the stroke and at the age of 76 he worked longer hours than anyone I know and always had done. We always said he would work until he dropped - we just never really believed it would actually happen.
My Dad was always very proud that in a career of over 50 years, he had never taken a day off sick. Friday 13th April was his first day off....
I'm doing this bike ride for several reasons:
1 - I've seen first hand how a stroke can, in an instant debilitate a fit, active and able man. It's absolutely frightening.
2 - As a way of saying thank you to all the wonderful people who, in the first few important hours cared for my Dad so well.
3 - To raise as much money as possible for the Stroke Association so they can continue their work.
4 - I'm not exactly the fittest person in the world (that's an understatement!) and as I've just turned 40, I want this challenge to motivate me to get myself fit and lose 'once and for all' those 'couple of extra pounds' I've been carrying all my life!
Please please please sponsor me for as much as you possibly can. You can see the details of the event here. I have NEVER done anything like this before and I will work as hard as I can to achieve this goal.
The event's Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/events/190828147676325/
My Dad's wesbite - http://www.burchellsfeet.co.uk/index.html
Twitter - https://twitter.com/burchellsfeet
These are just some of the ways in which your donation can make a real difference to the lives of those affected by stroke.
£5 could help us to provide 15 people with crucial leaflets like 'Communication problems after stroke' which help people to come to terms with the profound difference to their lives after stroke.
£10 can go to purchasing large-handled cutlery specifically designed for use by people after stroke.
£20 could help our National Stroke Helpline team to give life-changing advice to a caller struggling to cope after the trauma of stroke.
£50 could help ensure we continue to invest in vital stroke research. The research we fund helps the medical profession to understand more about the causes of stroke, pioneering treatment for stroke patients and innovative stroke rehabilitation equipment.
£150 can help us provide a life changing Life After Stroke Grant to a person affected by stroke. It can help them buy a ramp so they can access their home more easily and be able to live a more independent life.