I had headaches the day before but that morning I felt fine

My name is Gary Smith and I’m 37 years old. I was on my way to play golf when I suffered a stroke.

I had headaches the day before but that morning I felt fine. My friend Jim collected me, I put the golf clubs in his car and we left. As he drove away from my house I tried to put my seat belt on and realised I couldn’t move my right arm, I could see it but I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t move it.

I had no pain, no warning, nothing. I tried to talk to him but nothing was coming out. Jim looked over and saw my face had dropped and I was slurring my words so he turned around and drove me back home. Jim and my wife Clare brought me inside the house and sat me on a chair in the hall. I hadn’t got a clue what was happening but Clare kept reassuring me she would get help.

I now know that if it wasn’t for my wife’s fast reactions calling 999 that I might not be here talking to you all today. Our story is proof that the Irish Heart Foundation’s F.A.S.T. campaign really does help save lives.”

His wife Clare adds: “Myself and Gary know that even though this has been tough, we are the lucky ones. If I had not seen Irish Heart’s F.A.S.T. TV ad, I would not have recognised that Gary was having a stroke. We are living proof that F.A.S.T. works.

And I’d like to say to everyone out there, no matter what age you are, you need to know the signs and symptoms of stroke because nobody knows when a stroke will strike and Gary is proof that it can happen to anyone, at any age. But if you know the symptoms, you can act F.A.S.T. and help save a life.”

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