A dad, who was left paralysed down his left side following a stroke caused by a brain haemorrhage, has completed a walking challenge to raise money for equipment to help future stroke patients.
David Hiscott of Greenmount, Bury, had his life changed forever when he suffered a stroke in December 2017. David, who was a fit and active 48-year-old at the time – having regularly taken on tough fitness challenges including cycling up Mount Snowdon – was suddenly left unable to walk and wheelchair dependant for six months.
The father-of-two was treated by specialist staff at Fairfield General Hospital’s Acute Stroke and Rehabilitation wards and learned to walk again thanks to the support from the Community Stroke and Neuro Rehab Team. The services are run by Bury Care Organisation – part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group.
Three years on and, although David, now 51, still has reduced mobility and weakness on his left side, he has just completed one of his toughest challenges yet to say thank you to the NHS staff that cared for him.
On Sunday (13 June), David walked four and a half miles from his home to nearby Peel Tower on Holcombe Hill and back again with his wife Emma and daughters Freya, 14, and Anya, 11. Before his stroke, David would not have thought twice about running or cycling up the local attraction, which is 1,100 feet (335m) above sea level. But during his recovery, the tower became a symbol of hope as he was determined he would not only walk again but would have the strength to reach the top of the hill.
David, who is Head of Service Operations for AON, is aiming to raise £10,000 for NorthCare Charity, which supports Bury Care Organisation, so the Community Stroke and Neuro Rehab Team can purchase five Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) units.
David says his recovery has been aided by the use of an FES unit, which sends small electrical charges to the muscles in his leg, preventing ‘drop foot’, which is common with stroke patients. He accessed a unit through a clinic in London as part of private neuro-physio sessions and treatments as they were not available through the NHS in Bury.
David is also using his challenge to raise awareness about stroke, which is the second biggest cause of death in the world – behind heart disease.
To support David, please visit his JustGiving page.
NorthCare Charity supports the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group’s four hospitals and community services across Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Salford by funding innovative equipment, education, research and wellbeing activities.
David Hiscott said:
“My aim is to provide five FES units for stroke survivors, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access them, to help make a huge difference to their lives, so they achieve their full potential to recover.
“Holcombe Hill became symbolic. I would have thought nothing of running 10k and finishing up the hill or cycling up it at the start of a bike ride. After my stroke, I wondered whether I would ever do it again. So the feeling of reaching the top on Sunday was both an emotional and hugely satisfying achievement. I have so many friends and exceptional stroke physios to thank for helping me improve, but most of all, my family. Without whose love and support, this simply wouldn’t have been possible.
“I was fortunate to receive excellent care from both the hospital and the community stroke team. Since volunteering as a patient advocate with the stroke team, I’ve realised that stroke care varies widely across the UK, and many aren’t as lucky as me, so I’m looking to raise awareness in the hope that all stroke survivors benefit from the same level of care irrespective of where you live.”
Stroke Specialist Nurse Jo Stevens, who is Team Lead for the Community Stroke and Neuro rehab Team at Bury Care Organisation, said:
“We are so grateful to David for taking on this fundraising challenge for our team. His donation will make a huge difference to future stroke patients living in and around Bury. It’s fantastic to see the recovery David has made, and the whole team is thrilled he has completed this walk, which we know meant so much to him.
“Many people think strokes only happen to older people, but around one-third of stroke survivors we support are working age, and we have some patients in their 20s and 30s. David’s story shows a stroke can happen to anyone at any age due to no fault of their own.”