A FORMER Solihull Sixth Form tutor who survived a stroke has abseiled down the offices of the Solihull News to raise money for charity.
Brinton Helliwell proved there can be life after a stroke, and received a commendation for courage from The Stroke Association.
The abseil at Fort Dunlop was his biggest physical achievement to date, and his next goal is to take part in the charity’s London to Paris bike ride on a tandem.
Up until his stroke four years ago, Brin was a fit and healthy 47-year-old with a career at The Sixth Form College, Solihull.
He regularly cycled to work until he was involved in a road accident, which apparently caused his stroke.
Brin, from Sutton Coldfield, still faces great challenges - he can’t walk more than short distances without a stick, he’s unable to do basic household tasks like cooking, gardening and ironing; and is in constant discomfort from muscle wastage on his left side.
He acknowledged that he, his wife Karen, and their three children, have had to make adjustments.
“Karen has had to survive this stroke as much as I have. The support I’ve had from her - I really don’t think I could have survived without her,” he said.
Despite pushing himself to go back to work full-time, he found it difficult to concentrate and was suffering from extreme fatigue, so took early retirement.
Brin now volunteers once a week with The Stroke Association’s Communication Support Service, which helps stroke survivors with aphasia, which affects a person’s ability to speak, understand, read and/or write.
Volunteering has helped Brin regain some confidence.
He said: “All the skills I gained as a teacher I’m now using as a volunteer. We have a ball together, and I’m absolutely delighted to be involved. It’s great to see everyone, of all ages and abilities, make slow but steady improvements.”
Brin also gives talks to the NHS and Stroke Networks, sharing his personal experience to help improve stroke services.