A STROKE survivor has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association, in recognition of his determination and volunteering.

Stewart Whittaker of Blackburn had a stroke in July 2014 at the age of 38. His stroke left his whole right side paralysed. Fortunately, his mobility issues resolved quickly, however it also affected his memory and left him with severe aphasia, which saw him struggle to find the right words.

When Mr Whittaker was in hospital, a friend who was visiting noticed that all Stewart was saying was ‘No’. If a nurse asked whether he would like a drink, his answer was ‘No’.

Mr Whittaker was discharged home after a few weeks and supported by with Speech and Language Therapy, as well as receiving Communication Support from the Stroke Association in Blackburn with Darwen.

Vicky Cheshire, Stroke Association Support Coordinator, said: “Stewart felt more confident talking with friends, but lacked confidence communicating with people he didn’t know.

“He has done a fantastic job getting to where he is now because of his hard work and determination.”

Eventually the Stroke Association team asked Mr Whittaker to take other group member’s drinks orders, giving him a different role within the group.

It was at this point of Stewart’s recovery that he became a volunteer for the charity, nearly two years after his stroke. Now, he volunteers at the charity’s communication group.

Stewart was nominated for a Life After Stroke Award by Vicky. She added: “He is very modest, his motto being ‘It could have been worse’.

Stewart received his Highly Commended certificate at a celebratory event at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford on Thursday January 31.

Stewart said: “I’m pleased I can help other people. Volunteering helps me too with my communication. I just see what I do as normal and like helping other people who have had a stroke too.”

Chris Larkin, Director for the Stroke Association in the North, added: “Our regional event highlights the tremendous courage people like Stewart have shown in rebuilding their lives after a stroke, or in helping others to do the same.”

For more information visit www.stroke.org.uk/LASA