When Chris Webb a 27-year-old accountant from Terenure in Dublin suffered a life-altering stroke in March last year he was advised by doctors that he would be lucky to walk by Christmas.
Not only has Chris defied all expectations and made a full recovery, but he is also planning to run the Limerick marathon later this year for the Irish Heart Foundation.
Recalling the time leading up to his stroke Chris explained that he had just started at a new job a month before and was walking to work when he began to feel a little strange.
He said the walk to the office usually took approximately 15 minutes however that morning it took a lot longer. Once he arrived at his desk Chris told colleagues that he wasn’t feeling well and went to the bathroom where he was sick and found himself sitting on the ground unable to stand. When he eventually managed to return to his desk he decided to go home as he was feeling so unwell.
Unfortunately, however, Chris found that he couldn’t tackle the stairs. At this point, his colleagues realised that something was seriously wrong and phoned an ambulance. He was immediately taken to St James’s Hospital in Dublin.
“I tried to walk down the stairs to go home but one of the lads saw me. He said “you can’t walk,” and he put me in a chair. I was fading in and out of consciousness and about 20 minutes later an ambulance arrived. That is the last thing I remember,” he explained.
Like a lot of people, Chris was shocked to hear that at 26 he had suffered a stroke.
Chris, who said he had no memory of anything else about that day, only learned that he had suffered a stroke when he woke up in Beaumont Hospital having been transferred there from St James’s.
It was discovered that Chris’ stroke was caused by a rare condition called Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) in his brain that had been there since birth. He underwent a procedure to fix the issue and spent a number of days in ICU.
Chris was to spend a total of six weeks in hospital and another number of months of recuperation and rehabilitation at home.
Like a lot of people, Chris was shocked to hear that at 26 he had suffered a stroke. It is a popular misconception that strokes only happen to much older people however it is estimated that one in four strokes in Ireland occur in people aged under 65.
Today Chris is doing well and is back at work however he still struggles with fatigue.
He is a member of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Young Stroke Survivor Network which he said has been a great support. He particularly values to peer to peer aspect of the group as it means he can meet other young people who have been through similar experiences.
“I think it’s nice to meet other people who have suffered a stroke I know the cause of their stroke might have been different to mine but it’s just nice to meet them,” he said.
“ I was lucky I was taken to the hospital so quickly ….it could have been a lot worse,"
Chris said he was getting involved in the FAST campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke but also to let the public know that stroke can strike at any age.
“I have told people that I have had a stroke and they either don’t believe me or think it was due to drugs or alcohol ….it can happen at any age I didn’t know at the time what was happening to me. I thought my brain was shutting down and I was going to die,”
“I was lucky I was taken to the hospital so quickly ….it could have been a lot worse….people need to know the symptoms and need to get to a hospital as soon as possible…getting to the hospital quickly was the only thing that helped me,” he stated.
Chris is currently in training to run his first marathon to raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation and to highlight the importance of the FAST campaign.
He said that for him running was important as a way to keep motivated adding that “it was the one thing I was terrified of losing.”
During a stroke, minutes matter – act F.A.S.T.Learn More