When I was learning how to walk again following my stroke in 2013, there were phrases from the many physical and occupational therapists which stuck with me.  

Like many people, I knew nothing of the world of brain injury and stroke until I was plunged ‘head first’ into it – if you will pardon the pun.

One statistic which has stuck with me is doctors only know 10 percent about the brain – therefore only know 10 percent about recovery techniques etc. 

I am not going to lie to you, recovery from a brain injury is the hardest thing one will possibly ever attempt to do.

I use the term ‘recovery’ loosely, because some of us unfortunately will never get there completely. 

That is one of the hardest parts of it – the ‘mourning’ of the previous self or life – and the ‘acceptance’ of the new life or set of circumstances.

Past or previous life goals wiped out in the blink of an eye – through no fault of your own.

Therefore, it is vital to celebrate every milestone – no matter how big or small.

When learning how to walk again, specialists would say to me: “heel then toe, heel then toe.”

“Step by step and you will get there – every step counts, because eventually they all add up to something far bigger.” 

These mantras have stayed with me throughout my “recovery.”

Throughout that time, they have certainly added up to more because I have achieved three huge personal milestones.

Firstly, I married the love of my life Amy in 2016 – who without a doubt I would not be here today if it was not for her – spurring me on every second of the way. 

Then secondly, a year later, we safely welcomed our beautiful son Reggie into the world – who later this year will start primary school – where has that time gone?!

Having worked as a sports journalist for 15 years, I would often write about the sporting accomplishments and achievements of others – winning various matches and titles.

Well, in 2018, I got to lift my very own piece of silverware when I finished the world famous London Marathon.

It had always been a dream of mine to complete one – and it represented so much to me.

To go from all of those hospital beds – bathed in self doubt and lost hope – to suddenly tears of joy at crossing the finish line somewhere around Buckingham Palace meant so much to me because of what it represented – how far I had come.

Dreams can still come true – no matter what the circumstances, so just don’t give up on them.


Will Perringwood