During the period in the acute stroke ward my family would read extracts from Kate Allard’s book ‘Running Free’ being a keen hill walker and skier myself I received great encouragement from what I was listening too. One
day in June 2011 my children informed me that they had nominated me to carry the Olympic Torch I didn’t really take in what they were telling me as I was unable to move or talk and I didn’t really believe I would be chosen but they kept telling
me that if Kate Allard could walk after a year so could I, in fact I often dreamt that I was half way up a mountain or skiing with my family, then, I would wake up.
Then the time came to prepare me for rehab. May and June 2011 I was weaned of
the tracky it took eight weeks but it was worth every minute of the time as I hadn’t eaten, drank or talked since February and I had some use in my left arm and leg talking was difficult I had to learn all over again, one word to one breath at first
but I didn’t have to rely on the ETRAN communication board any more.
I was transferred to Rehab early July where I spent 3 months, It was here that I received good and intensive physio I began to break all my target times i.e. to stand,
get my right hand and arm working, to eat with knife and fork brush my teeth, wipe my own bum, put my socks on etc. etc.
Just before my discharge from rehab 28th September 2012 I received confirmation that I would be carrying the torch but
apart from telling my family I had to keep it confidential until March 2012 this was hard for me as I have never been able to keep a secret; I informed my Physiotherapist though she was over the moon as it gave me a good target to reach. She asked what I wanted
the most I said to be able to walk with one stick or none and carry the torch, after research the physio team made a mock torch using a stick a small cone and a bean bag to simulate the weight and size of the torch, for the next few month
I would practice standing, walking between the bars, waking with a frame then quad sticks but I still struggling with balance I had also joined a local gym and swimming pool where exercises and goals were planned, it all sounds very easy but it wasn’t
I had down times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on, however, there were many up times as well especially when I achieved another goal.
March 2012 the Olympic organizers announced the name of the torch bearers all of a sudden I became
a local celebrity with radio, TV and newspaper reports we even found that I was being reported on around the world, however , at this time I was still struggling with walking with sticks so I asked the physio to step up my training which they did at
the gym they concentrated on leg and feet exercises, to this day I enjoy the gym I am often surrounded by young fit men going purple and sweating form lifting heavy weights while I would be doing the same on 2.5kilograms on my arms and 10kilograms on my legs
but it worked, a week before carrying the torch I was managing ten steps with one stick while carrying the torch.
July 4th 2012 at Sandringham, Norfolk my day had come, the aim was that I would light the torch standing up and would walk the
last few meters of the 480mtr of my leg and my wife Jeannie would push me in my chair between. All went according to plan I was first to go so my torch was lit from a small miners lamp I was standing with my torch and one walking stick my chair was about 3mtrs
to one side; with the torch lit I walked to my chair and sat down then I realised that there were hundreds of people lining the road all cheering me and once again the cameras were there and a horse box with BBC on line coverage was directly in front of me
so I relaxed and enjoyed the moment about 30mtrs from the end of my section I stopped Jeannie from pushing me stood up and walked to Peter who was waiting for me to pass the flame, I was told that I walked 28 steps with one stick what a great moment I did
it and my daughter in Australia was watching me live the last time I had seen her I was barely alive and the prognosis was bleak.
I appreciate that all stroke survivors recovery time vary but I believe that with self-determination support from family,
friends, staff my faith and a bit of stubbiness we can reach our goals in a timely fashion my next target is on my birthday 3rd June 2013 is to climb a peak in Derbyshire, watch this space.