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Stroke patient puts best foot forward  

A recovering stroke patient has completed his first walk in eight years at Moseley Hall Hospital, where he received rehabilitation care, to raise funds for the Stroke Association. 

61-year-old Martin Gouder suffered a severe stroke in October 2007 which left him paralysed on his left side. After initial treatment at Selly Oak Hospital, Martin was transferred to the stroke ward (ward 8) at Moseley Hall Hospital, where he spent 18 weeks receiving rehabilitation.

Since leaving hospital, Martin has received physiotherapy at his Yardley home which has helped him to take a few steps, with the aid of a walking stick, around the house. However, when he’s outside, Martin has been using a wheelchair.

Martin said: “I haven’t had the confidence to walk any distance outside of the house - until now.

“About a month ago I decided I wanted to give something back to the Stroke Association, as they have offered me a great deal of support over the last eight years. They helped me apply to get a ground floor wet room fitted in my house, which will make such a difference.”

Martin began his sponsored walk on the second floor stroke ward and took 123 steps and 44 stairs to reach his final destination - the ground floor hospital restaurant, Violet’s. He has raised more than £250 for the Stroke Association.

Martin, a retired primary school teacher, said: “Deciding to do the walk has given me something to aim for and I am over the moon to have completed it!”

“I would like to thank my wife Sharon, who is also my full-time carer. I couldn’t have done it without her. I would also like to thank the staff at Moseley Hall Hospital for cheering me on and for sponsoring me.

“The hospital is practically my second home! I was there for quite a long time in 2007 so I got to know the staff very well and they were all so kind and encouraging. The care I received was outstanding.”

Martin, who taught at Tindal Primary School in Balsall Heath before retiring, now uses his communication skills to volunteer at the hospital twice a week, offering support and advice to other stroke patients.

He said: “Having a stroke is a traumatic and life-changing thing, but I want to give people hope that you can recover - I am living proof of that.”

Dr Natalie Rudman, a clinical psychologist on the stroke ward, supported Martin during his rehabilitation. She said: “Martin is a great asset to our team. He is so good at engaging patients and they find a lot of comfort and inspiration from his words of advice.”

The hospital chaplain Reverend Lynne Morris said: “As an honorary member of the chaplaincy team, Martin offers spiritual guidance to patients, as well as emotional and practical support.

“Completing this walk is a huge achievement for Martin, who has struggled to walk more than a few steps over the last few years. He should be very proud and take confidence from this. Hopefully it will also inspire other patients on their own journey from rehabilitation to recovery.”

Volunteer Martin Gouder on his sponsored walk with staff from the stroke ward at Moseley Hall Hospital
Martin Gouder with the ward 8 team: (l-r) occupational therapist (OT) Deborah Cooper, Reverend Lynne Morris (back row), Dr Natalie Rudman, OT Edwina Wass and nurse Debbie Williams