A 16-year-old stroke survivor from Coventry has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association, in recognition of his bravery.
Ben Randle was born a seemingly fit and healthy little boy in December 2000. However when he was four months old, his parents Sharon and Kev noticed he wasn’t rolling over or reaching with his left hand. Initially advised that all babies are different, Ben was eventually referred to a paediatrician at eight months old.
Ben was diagnosed as having had a stroke while in the womb and his parents were told he would not be able to walk, talk or be aware of the world around him, leaving them devastated. Sharon was also pregnant with her second son Tom at this time and was told her baby had a 50/50 chance of having the same condition as Ben.
Ben also began experiencing seizures when he was 22 months old, causing him to lose consciousness and endure violent muscle contractions.
Ben first sat up at five years old, and learnt to crawl and walk on his knees 18 months later. Defying doctors’ expectations, he has continued to thrive and adapt to the effects of his stroke, although he has no use of his left hand. He underwent a major operation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in October 2015 to reduce his uncontrollable epilepsy. This has been successful and left him free, of the large seizures, but has worsened the disabilities caused by his stroke.
Sue Thelwell, a friend of Ben’s mother and Family and Carer Support Coordinator at the Stroke Association, nominated Ben for the Young Person’s Courage Award in the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards.
Sue said: “Ben is a lovely, smiling, and very happy boy who thoroughly deserves this nomination for all he has battled through. He is so determined to improve his physical and mental ability and it’s wonderful to see him improving.”
Ben received his Highly Commended certificate from Coronation Street actress Shelley King. He was joined by his father at a celebratory event at Birmingham City Football Club on Wednesday 15 February, sponsored by Birmingham City Football Club and A J Thorley & Son Ltd.
Ben’s mother Sharon added: “Ben has improved even more since his recent surgery. He is more understanding and so much calmer. He now has all of his speech back and we’re over the moon he seems to be big seizure free. We’re so incredibly proud of how far he has come.”
Bernice Jones, Regional Director for the Stroke Association in the West Midlands, said: “A stroke happens in an instant and often changes lives forever. We were thrilled that so many of our community in the West Midlands were nominated to receive a Life After Stroke Award. Our regional event highlights the tremendous courage local people have shown in rebuilding their lives after a stroke, or in helping others to do the same.”
The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards recognise the courage shown by stroke survivors and carers as well as the great work and commitment shown by health professionals, groups and supporter organisations. For more information visit www.stroke.org.uk/LASA