Wednesday, 18 July 2012
A local man’s courage and determination in a remarkable recovery has been praised at a celebratory event to mark the 10 Year Anniversary of Cardiff’s St David’s Hospital.
Gary George from Cardiff suffered a stroke following an accident in Ethiopia three years ago. In a critical condition, paralysed from the neck down and with no ability to speak, he was air-lifted to a hospital in Dubai.
Reflecting back to the time of the accident, Gary said, “I was completely gutted, I couldn’t believe what had happened to me. My mind was fully functioning; I was so frustrated as I couldn’t communicate to tell anyone how I was feeling.
“I knew I wouldn’t recover if I lay there and gave up. I had to focus my mind to get better so I allowed two days of feeling sorry for myself and then got on with it!”
And get on with it he did. Within three weeks he was home and receiving rehabilitation treatment as an outpatient in Rookwood Hospital five days a week.
It took six months to loosen the body before starting fitness training in the local Fitness Factory. This training has taken his recovery to another level and last year Gary put his fitness to the ultimate test by walking the Great Wall of China for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
It took five days of not only physical but mental endurance. Gary also did the Three Peaks Challenge last weekend. “Exercise and fitness have given me the determination to get better and help other people in similar situations.
“It took me a long time to recover and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support of my family.”
Gary is also a volunteer for a community based Speech and Language Conversation group which I based at St David’s Hospital. The group focuses on rehabilitation of communication impairment after stroke in partnership with the Stroke Association, which runs a simultaneous carers’ group on site for relatives.
He added, “This is a fantastic group and gives patients the opportunity to get better in comfortable surroundings which they can access in their community.”
St David’s Hospital celebrated its ten year anniversary with a special event involving staff and patients. Hospital Manager, Lynne Topham was delighted to see everyone getting involved to showcase the range of services provided at the site.
Lynne said, “This was a really positive event, bringing together all aspects of the services we provide here at St David’s. The hospital is at the heart of the community and provides a wide range of in-patient and community based services to meet the needs of patients and their families. Over time, we hope to expand use of the hospital to further support the these needs ”
Situated in South West Area of Cardiff, St David’s Hospital provides inpatient and outpatient services which range from podiatry, mental health services for older people, child and adult mental health services and a children’s centre that provides a plethora of services to children and their families.
Justine Carter, Child Development Advisor for Portage, a home visiting service which offers support help and advice to families who have pre-school child with special needs, said, “We help families and empower them to get maximum input for their child to achieve therapy 24 hours a day. Today has been a fantastic opportunity to promote how we can help families and give them the support and care they need.”
Chief Executive Adam Cairns also attended the event and said, “The facilities at this hospital are so important to Cardiff and Vale UHB and the local population who use the services. Congratulations to all staff for the past ten years and managing change through this timeframe whilst ensuring patient care. I look forward to working with you all during the next 10 years!”