A STROKE survivor from Coventry has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award in recognition of his bravery.
Sixteen-year-old Ben Randle was born a seemingly fit and healthy little boy in December 2000. But after his parents noticed that he was not rolling or reaching with his left hand at four months, he was eventually referred to a paediatrician at eight months old.
Ben was later diagnosed as having had a stroke while in the womb and his parents were told he would not be able to walk, talk or be aware of the world around him, leaving them devastated.
Sharon was also pregnant with her second son Tom at this time and was told her baby had a 50/50 chance of having the same condition as Ben.
Ben also began experiencing seizures when he was 22 months old, causing him to lose consciousness and endure violent muscle contractions.
Ben first sat up at five years old, and learnt to crawl and walk on his knees 18 months later. Defying doctors’ expectations, he has continued to thrive and adapt to the effects of his stroke, although he has no use of his left hand.
He underwent a major operation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in October 2015 to reduce his uncontrollable epilepsy. This has been successful and left him free of the large seizures, but has worsened the disabilities caused by his stroke.
“Ben has improved even more since his recent surgery,” said mother Sharon. “He is more understanding and so much calmer.
“He now has all of his speech back and we’re over the moon he seems to be big seizure free. We’re so incredibly proud of how far he has come.”
Sue Thelwell, a friend of Ben’s mother and Family and Carer Support Coordinator at the Stroke Association, nominated Ben for the Young Person’s Courage Award in the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards.
Ben received his Highly Commended certificate from Coronation Street actress Shelley King. He was joined by his father at a celebratory event at Birmingham City Football Club last month.
Sue said: “Ben is a lovely, smiling, and very happy boy who thoroughly deserves this nomination for all he has battled through.
“He is so determined to improve his physical and mental ability and it’s wonderful to see him improving.”
The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards recognise the courage shown by stroke survivors and carers as well as the great work and commitment shown by health professionals, groups and supporter organisations.
“A stroke happens in an instant and often changes lives forever,” added Bernice Jones, regional director for the Stroke Association in the West Midlands.
“Our regional event highlights the tremendous courage local people have shown in rebuilding their lives after a stroke, or in helping others to do the same.”
For more information about the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards visit www.stroke.org.uk/LASA.