An Eastbourne student who suffered a stroke at the age of 24 is raising awareness for a charity.
James Flint, now 34, had a major stroke ten years ago which left him unable to speak and walk.
He was in hospital for a year where he slowly learnt to speak and walk again. Now, after 10 years, he is studying for a degree in Computing at Eastbourne’s Brighton University campus and getting his life back on track.
James said, “When I got back home, it was very lonely because my friends were going out meeting people and I couldn’t keep up, due to my disabilities, so I watched a lot of TV at home.
“I started going to disability support groups to help with swimming and other activities but no one there was my age.
“I was desperate to be ‘normal’ and make new friends, so the Stroke Association encouraged me to think about who I could be. Jayne, my coordinator took me to visit universities and helped me talk to tutors and then get on a degree course. I’m doing okay but I get very tired.”
James is speaking about his story because he wants to raise awareness of aphasia, which affects people’s ability to communicate, whether it is speaking, reading, writing or understanding. Many survivors with aphasia report feeling lonely and frustrated following their stroke because people don’t understand them. More than 150,000 people have a stroke every year in the UK, and one third will have aphasia.
As part of the charity’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ campaign it was found that 17 per cent of sufferers would like to be able to say Merry Christmas and ask what presents their loved ones want.
James added, “I’m looking forward to Christmas because I can spend some time with my girlfriend and our families. I sometimes wish people gave me more time to explain things because of my aphasia.”
Visit www.stroke.org.uk/aphasia for more information.