Connect, the communication disability network helps and supports people with aphasia. Aphasia is a communication disability which occurs when the communication centres of the brain are damaged. It is usually caused by stroke, but can also be caused by brain haemorrhage, head injury or tumours. Robert, a talented artist, a devoted father and partner tells his story of experiencing aphasia.
“I was lying in bed with my partner one morning and I felt a slight discomfort. I tried to get up and I couldn’t. It was at that moment that I had my stroke. My partner called for an ambulance and I was rushed to hospital. At the time they didn’t know what was wrong with me. After much examination they discovered that I had a stroke and then moved me to the stroke ward. When I had my stroke I couldn’t speak or understand what was going on. Half of my body was paralysed. I experienced a delayed reaction in my body.
I spent eight weeks in the hospital adjusting and learning about my new found disability – aphasia. I guess as a way of coping, I created abstract drawings to help me get through my ordeal. My drawings also acted as a catharsis for all the drugs they pumped me with for my epilepsy. Aphasia can be difficult at times. It was especially difficult during the early months of my stroke. This is because I felt like I was missing out on my daughter’s childhood. Although, I was around I still felt invisible. This is because I couldn’t help her in ways that she needed to me to. In turn, she couldn’t come to me and tell me things like she used to. It was a strange and uncomfortable situation for all of us.
I found strength in my art work and the support I received from Connect. Attending the London drop-ins centre at Connect has been helpful and fantastic! This is because Connect provided a safe place for me to come and talk to people who were going through a similar situation as me. It was nice to converse with people who actually know what you’re going through. I also like the art groups that Connect organises for people with aphasia.
So my message to those of you who are going through a difficult or similar situation is; keep trying and don’t give up. Don’t compare yourself to anyone because everyone experiences things differently and work at your own pace.”
Help us help more people like Robert. Connect has launched its new fundraising campaign called Connect with Friends! Connect is looking for 1,000 people to join our campaign and help us reach our target of £25,000.
How to help
We want you to pick a date. Invite your friends and family for a get-together over food, coffee or a drink; you choose. Then celebrate the good time you’ve had with your friends and family with a shared donation of £25 to the aphasia charity, Connect.
Your help can help us save a life and help people with aphasia empower the next generation to do the same.
So sign up today at: www.ukconnect.org/2014-campaign and be that #1inathousand!
If you would like further information on Connect and the services they run please visit: www.ukconnect.org and for further information about Robert’s art please visit: http://www.robertwelch.info/index.htm