By the time he was 22, he felt alone, desperate and in need of urgent help. That’s when he came to Thistle. Malcolm was waiting for his life to begin again after illness and lived in fear of a further stroke.
“If you knew me when I was 14, you’d see just a normal lad. I loved my sport – playing basketball and rugby. That all changed overnight. I woke up confused and claustrophobic, confined to a hospital bed. No one could explain to me or my parents what had caused my stroke. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t walk around, let alone get back on the rugby pitch.”
Malcolm’s second stroke came at a time when all his friends were confirming their places at university or making plans for their future. While everyone else was moving on with their lives, Malcolm felt isolated and fearful about the future. He couldn’t walk without the aid of a crutch.
“The first time I came to Thistle, I was a bit nervous, even reluctant, to ask for help. I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to help me. But as soon as I talked to a health and wellbeing practitioner, I knew I’d come to the right place.
“After my initial consultation, I went on a Lifestyle Management Course and started to become more physically confident. Within a few weeks, I could take tentative steps on my own. By the end of the course, I had the confidence to try walking without my crutch. It was an amazing feeling to take those steps on my own.
“Thistle’s support and care gave me a new emotional confidence, too. I’ve started working with them, and I’m determined to help other people who are in a similar place I once was.”
Malcolm starts work at Thistle