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​Basildon stroke survivor backs charity art project

Press Release   •   Aug 03, 2015 09:50 BST

Jonathan Lovett, 44, from Basildon, is supporting the Stroke Association’s East of England Hidden Project, after having a devastating stroke last year at the age of 43.

Jonathan, a Technical Author, was out cycling with his brother when he suddenly lost his vision.

Jonathan explains: “I’ve always loved cycling and at the time, I was training for a London to Southend cycle with my brother Simon. Whilst cycling in the woods, I suddenly lost the sight in my left eye. At the time, I thought I was having a funny turn, and knew something wasn’t right, so we decided to cycle back to my brother’s house to drop off our bikes, so he could drive me to the hospital.”

“On the cycle home my sight did end up coming back, but we thought it was best I still go hospital to get checked out just in case. As I was filling out the forms in the hospital waiting area with my brother, I suddenly lost control of my arm and as I went to speak, I realised I couldn’t talk properly.”

Jonathan lost feeling of the right side of his body, his vision and his speech before falling on the floor at the hospital. Jonathan spent 18 days in total at both Basildon and Thurrock Hospital recovering from his stroke.

Jonathan now attends the Bishop’s Stortford Voluntary Stroke Group, sharing his experiences with other stroke survivors and offering a helping hand.

Jonathan is one of the stroke survivors who will be the subject of a powerful new photography exhibition called the Hidden Project, which will be displayed High House Production Park this month.

The group of stroke survivors have posed to highlight the devastating effects of stroke, using the colour purple to depict how each individual has been affected differently.

Jonathan adds: “As four working age stroke survivors, we wanted to make an impact to the public to show that whilst we’ve had our strokes, and we have different hidden effects following our strokes, together we can conquer stroke. I hope that from this project, more people realise that stroke can happen in an instant, but the effects can last a lifetime. Although I may look well and fine, I have a daily battle with the effects of my stroke.”

Tracy Groves, Regional Information Officer for the Stroke Association in the East of England said: “I am so proud of my team of volunteers for being part of this special creation. On a daily basis I hear how heart breaking it is for stroke survivor’s hidden effects to be ignored.

“Through these powerful images, we hope to raise awareness of stroke across the East of England. A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off and brain cells are damaged or die. It can happen out of the blue and be very frightening. Stroke is one of greatest health challenges of our time, with 152,000 strokes happening in the UK every year, and being the leading cause of adult disability in the UK.

“Stroke survivors can struggle with everyday tasks like making a cup of tea, taking a shower or reading the paper. Even talking or communicating with friends and family can be a challenge. A stroke can affect people’s confidence as many survivors feel embarrassed when they can’t remember things or they forget words, or because of the physical effects of their stroke.

“We’re there every step of the way helping survivors and their families deal with the practical and emotional impacts of stroke. We believe in life after stroke and value each person’s victories on the road to recovery.”

The images of Jonathan will be showcased at the Thurrock Stroke Art Exhibition on Tuesday 18 August from 2pm until 6pm at High House Production Park, Vellacott Close, Essex.

For more information about stroke, please visit www.stroke.org.uk or contact our helpline on 0303 303 3100.

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.  

Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and together we can conquer stroke. We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at www.stroke.org.uk