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​Redditch stroke survivor urges people to act FAST

Press Release   •   Feb 06, 2017 11:24 GMT

The Stroke Association is calling for people across the West Midlands to be more aware of the early warning signs of stroke, and to share the FAST message to help save more lives.

The FAST Test identifies the three most common symptoms of a stroke and the right action to take:

  • FACE: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
  • SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • TIME to call 999

Alan Corbett, 69, from Webheath, survived a stroke in 2013 and is now spreading the word about recognising the FAST Test symptoms.

Alan had gone to bed feeling unwell and found himself having to get up a number of times during the night, each time feeling imbalanced and struggling to walk. His arm felt weak but he passed it off as nothing serious. The following morning Alan struggled to get up and lay in bed for much longer than he usually would. Eventually reaching the bathroom, Alan struggled to grip his shaving kit and dropped everything he tried to use.

Alan said: “I became really irritated and it was only when I caught my reflection in the mirror that I realised something was seriously wrong. My face had fallen on the left side and I couldn’t smile or call for help. I remembered the FAST test I’d seen on television and knew I had to call an ambulance.”

Alan couldn’t shout his wife as his speech was slurred. He attempted to dress himself but couldn’t and struggled to get down stairs to his wife to raise the alarm.

When Alan finally managed to attract the attention of his wife, she called an ambulance immediately. Luckily, the ambulance arrived four minutes later and after conducting the FAST test, the paramedics were able to get Alan to hospital in good time.

Alan said: “My father had died of a stroke twenty years previously, so I was worried about my chance of recovery. After nearly two weeks in hospital, I began to regain my speech and could walk again, though I was still unsteady on my feet. After six weeks of physiotherapy, I was able to walk confidently.”

Bernice Jones, Regional Director at the Stroke Association, said: “Having a stroke is devastating. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. Every second counts when you are having a stroke, so recognising the signs and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial. A stroke is a medical emergency – as serious as a heart attack, so you need to seek immediate medical help. The quicker a person arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment to minimise the impact of their stroke.

“We want more people in the West Midlands to learn the FAST test and share it with their friends and family to help others to save lives, and improve the chance of a better recovery for those who experience stroke.”

To find out more about the FAST campaign, and to view information and support available, visit www.stroke.org.uk/FAST. 

  • 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 more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that is around one stroke every five minutes. 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