A stroke survivor in Redditch, England has been undertaking odd jobs to help raise funds for the Stroke Association.
Charlie Preston, a 49-year old single father, says the Stroke Association provided much-needed assistance when he suffered a fall at work and experienced a series of strokes. These life-changing events, which affect more than 113,000 individuals every year, left him unable to work. They also left him with speech and coordination issues that can make it difficult to talk and write.
As the sole caretaker of his children, Charlie needed practical support, including speech and language therapy to learn to write again. Luckily, the charity was there to help when his family needed it the most.
Once Charlie’s able to put pen to paper, he’ll begin working again. Until then, however, he has no plans to slow down. Now, he’s taking on small jobs for neighbours, family and friends to raise money for the association that did so much for him. In doing so, he hopes that other people will be able to receive the same support he did.
Completing odd jobs also gives Charlie the chance to get involved in the community again, something that’s been especially difficult since the incident. Because the stroke left him with shakes, seizures, anxiety, depression and speech impediments, he’s had a hard time connecting with other people or going out in public.
“When I get the shakes or have trouble getting my words out, people think I’m drunk or on drugs,” he says. While he doesn’t have any physical disabilities, these symptoms can make it difficult to communicate and they’re often offputting to others who aren’t aware of the lasting effects of stroke. Luckily, his method of giving back is helping to restore his self esteem and confidence.
Volunteering has also presented opportunities to share more about his condition and raise awareness for stroke survivors. Many people don’t understand strokes and how their lingering effects impact survivors’ daily lives. By spending time with community members, however, Charlie is able to show them what life after strokes looks like. As more people learn about strokes and how they impact survivors, they’ll undoubtedly empathize more with those who have been affected. And, evidently, they’ll donate to help those like Charlie.
So far, Charlie has raised £900 for the Stroke Association to raise awareness for single working parents like himself. Without the charity’s assistance, he isn’t sure where he and his children would be. Likewise, the association expresses its gratitude for Charlie and all of the work he’s been doing in Redditch.
“With the support of people like Charlie, we can help more stroke survivors and their families as they look to rebuild their lives,” says Sarah Adderly, the charity’s associate director for the Midlands.