AS he continues to battle back from a catastrophic bleed on the brain, Will Wood wants to find the stranger who may have saved his life.
For sports writer Will, everything changed the day he suffered a sudden bleed on the brain.
The 31-year-old, who had no previous record of ill health, was found having a seizure beside his car by a stranger who immediately dialled 999.
Initially medics feared there was nothing that could be done, so big was the bleed, but he was taken to Frenchay Hospital near Bristol where doctors battled to save him.
After two-and-a-half weeks in intensive care he pulled through.
His injuries have had a huge impact on his life, causing serious impairment and memory loss, but Will has worked tirelessly to regain his mental and physical attributes – aided by unyielding support from his family and girlfriend Amy Perring.
Now, 15 months on, he wants to speak out about his experience in a bid to raise awareness of what it is like to live with a brain injury.
And he is hoping to track down the Good Samaritan who found him, without whose intervention he might well have died.
“Suffering a bleed on the brain has changed my life completely,” said Will, a rugby writer at the Citizen.
“But I am not going to allow it to be the thing that defines me. I have spent much of the last year coming to terms with my injury and the ways it affects my life.
“As a result of what happened I have a greater appreciation of life and the people in it, including my family, my friends and Amy, who have all done so much to help my recovery.
“I would love to meet the person who found me by my car that day because if he hadn’t acted so quickly, I might not be here.”
The consequences of Will’s injury, on March 2 last year, have been wide-ranging. He lost much of the sensation in his left side, causing him to walk with a limp and making it hard to use his left hand effectively. Everyday tasks, such as getting dressed became painstakingly difficult.
Damage caused to the connective tissues in his brain left him with large memory blanks and he has also had to contend with the onset of epileptic fits and bouts of extreme fatigue.
Despite these setbacks, Will has vowed to do everything in his power to reverse the effects of the bleed – working with brain injury charity Headway in Gloucester.
He has slowly but surely regained much physical fitness. His memory remains patchy but is improving. He writes everything down to remind himself and with routine, his brain is getting better at retaining information.
He has even begun a phased return to work, coming into the Citizen office three mornings a week, and life for Will is about setting new goals and achieving them one at a time.
“Being a journalist was a huge part of who I was before my bleed, so one of my big goals has been to get back to work,” he added.
“I would like to get fit enough to do fundraising runs for charities such as Headway, who have helped me so much. I also hope by speaking out I can help other people who have suffered brain injuries.”
Amy, who has been beside Will every step of the way, added: “Life now is a balancing act of trying not to let Will’s injury define our lives; however at the same time accepting that it is now a part of who he is so a part of who we are.”
Will writes about his progress at fromreportertosupporter.com which will feature on the Citizen website.
Were you Will’s Good Samaritan? Call us on 01242 278 082.