The number of people of employment age suffering from strokes in St Helens has rocketed over the last eight years.
An analysis of hospital admission data by the Stroke Association, to mark Action on Stroke Month 2015, reveals that in 2006, the number of strokes occurring in people of working age (20-64) in the North West has risen by a quarter within the past eight years.
The charity is now warning that the rise in working age strokes means more people will be forced to live with the heavy financial impact of the condition as they are unable to return to work and struggle to cope with a fall in income.
John McElroy, 50 from St Helens, is one of those affected as he suffered a stroke in 2007, which affected his short term memory, balance and concentration, leaving him off work for around 12 months.
He also lost his speech and sight in one eye temporarily.
He was forced to give up his job at Ibstock Brick Factory. But he gained scholarship at Edge Hill University and trained in nursing. Since 2013, he has been supporting other stroke survivors and people with brain injuries at St Helens Hospital.
The father-of-three said: “My confidence was shattered after my stroke. I was angry and didn’t understand why it had happened to me. It was also a complete shock losing my job at the factory. But being a stroke survivor myself enables me to empathise with the patients I now work with.”
For more information on strokes and support with employment, visit www.stroke.org.uk or call 0303 303 3100.