Stroke: little or no hope

Scan of the brain

There are 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK and many like Russell are living with devastating after-effects

Stroke changes lives in an instant, but for the majority of people there is no proven treatment to limit its disabling effects. 

For far too many people, the best that doctors can offer them is to wait and see. 

Our researchers are determined to transform this picture, to gain new understanding of stroke and to find effective new treatments.

Find out more about our researchers’ fight to find answers. 

Russell's story

In the UK, a quarter of strokes happen to people under 55. Russell Hanford was just 35 when a stroke robbed him of the ability to speak.

“When I chatted to Russell that morning and we went off to work, I never imagined that would be the last conversation we would ever have,” Russell’s wife, Rachel, remembers the day she heard news that would change their lives forever.

Russell and Rachel standing together

It was only four weeks after the couple had returned from their honeymoon

“Russell worked at a construction firm and I got a call from his boss saying he had collapsed.

“We'd been selling some items on eBay and we'd been texting about it only a couple of hours before. I couldn’t believe it was anything too serious, but when I got to hospital I was told Russell had suffered a major stroke.”

This isn't how we expected the start of our married life to be.

In that moment, everything changed

Russell spent the next few weeks learning to walk again, but his speech was badly affected.

With the help of speech therapy Russell has recovered some of his ability to speak, but he still relies on Rachel to be his ‘voice’.

“I know I’m lucky that Russell is alive – I spent the night he had the stroke pacing around. terrified that he would die. But Russell losing his voice has changed everything. He’s had to give up his job, which he loved, and I have become the breadwinner.

“This isn’t how we expected the start of our married life to be.”

British Heart Foundation support

Have you or has someone you know suffered a stroke? Find inspiration and support on life after stroke, learn more about stroke and your heart, or call the heart helpline today on 0300 330 3311 (lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm similar cost to 01 or 02 numbers).