Bexhill builder urges people to act FAST to help save lives

Chris Moon and his wife Hannah
Chris Moon and his wife Hannah

A 30-year-old builder who survived a stroke last year is urging people to be aware of the warning signs of stroke, and share the FAST message to help save more lives.

Chris Moon, from Bexhill, had a stroke in April last year. Fortunately his wife Hannah, 29, recognised the signs of a stroke and acted FAST.

When Chris went to have a shower one morning, Hannah realised something wasn’t right when she heard a loud banging noise coming from the bathroom.

Hannah said: “I kept hearing a loud thud, and when I shouted through to Chris to check everything was OK, there was no response. I slowly began to sit up in bed, listening out for any more noise, and when Chris came back into the bedroom I instantly knew something wasn’t right. He looked completely vacant, and when I asked if he was OK, he didn’t respond – he couldn’t talk.

“I have always remembered the FAST adverts on TV. I used to be a hairdresser, and the FAST advert of the woman in the hair salon having a stroke has always stuck with me.

“It took me no time to quickly check Chris using the FAST test, and I realised he was having a stroke. I lifted Chris’ left arm first and noticed it was floppy and heavy, realising he had no speech too. I was certain he was having a stroke so quickly dialled 999.”

Chris’ stroke was caused by a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a trapdoor-like flap in his heart that can cause blood clots, which lead to strokes. The stroke left Chris with severe aphasia, a communication difficulty which has left him only able to say a few words like ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Chris now has regular speech and language therapy, and attends the Stroke Association’s Mead’s Communication group.

The Stroke Association is raising awareness of the signs of stroke, calling on people to learn the symptoms, and call 999 as soon as they spot them. The FAST test helps people recognise the most common symptoms of a stroke and the right action to take:

· Face: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

· Arms: Can the person raise both arms?

· Speech: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

· Time: to call 999

To find out more about the FAST test, and the Stroke Association’s work to raise awareness of the warning signs of stroke, visit www.stroke.org.uk/FAST.

• See page 13 for report and reaction to cuts in funding for the Stroke Association.