Stroke survivor encourages others to 'make one small change'

Simon Marsh stroke prevention day

Simon Marsh is backing Stroke Prevention Day, encouraging others to make 'one small change', after suffering two strokes - Credit: Courtesy of Simon Marsh

An Ardeley man who lost his job, family and home after a severe stroke is backing the Stroke Association’s plea for people to make one small change to reduce their own risk. 

Simon Marsh, now 54, was working as a business manager, driving a BMW and running two pubs when he had his first stroke 13 years ago.

Doctors were never able to absolutely confirm the cause, but Simon is convinced that stress and his fast-paced lifestyle was a major factor.

“I had a strong work ethic and was burning the candle at both ends,” said Simon.

“I was working long hours, then going out and drinking too much and living off takeaways. After a few hours sleep I would get up and do it all again and that just couldn’t carry on.

“I would tell people that it’s really important for them to look at their work life balance and take more care of themselves because having a stroke can be devastating.”

Simon was unable to work and his relationship with his partner broke down.

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“I ended up living in a rented room on disability allowance,” said Simon.

“The doctors tried acupuncture and mirror therapy but nothing was happening for about nine months. I started exercising myself by creeping up the wall with my fingers. I changed my car from an automatic to a manual to force myself to use my left hand to change gears.

“I was determined to get it moving again. Eventually, after working hard I could do pretty much everything I used to be able to.”

Simon’s efforts paid off and he joined a Mercedes Benz dealership as a salesman specialising in Motability vehicles.

Sadly, Simon had a second stroke in November 2020 which affected the vision in his left eye. In hospital, after this second stroke, he spoke with lots of other patients to share how he had rebuilt his life after he first became ill.

Nine out of 10 strokes are linked to lifestyle factors such as smoking or obesity and the risk could be reduced by making changes.

The Stroke Association is calling for people to make one small change starting on Stroke Prevention Day - Friday, January 14.

More information can be found at www.stroke.org.uk/stroke-prevention-day.