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March 2, 2012

TV ad helps man save girlfriend in UK

Coventry Evening Telegraph

COVENTRY, England — Three weeks ago 33-year-old Jo-Anne Andrew suffered a stroke that could have left her permanently disabled.

But thanks to the quick actions of her boyfriend James Smith, she has already made a remarkable recovery and is back at work.

Now James has entered the Regency Run in Leamington to raise money for the specialist stroke unit in Coventry that treated Jo-Anne and awareness about the tell tale signs of a stroke.

James, aged 36, said: "I want to make sure other people are aware of the symptoms and react as quickly as I did, because that had a lot to do with the recovery Jo has made.

"If we can help somebody get treated quicker that has to be worth it."

Market researcher Jo's stroke came completely out of the blue.

She was watching television with James at their home in Leamington one night when he noticed the left side of her face had fallen.

Her arms and legs began twitching, she quickly became so weak she could not stand and her attempts to speak descended into gibberish.

James quickly recognised that Jo was having a stroke thanks to the Act FAST awareness advert he saw on television last year.

He dialled 999 and within minutes a rapid response car was outside. The paramedic said Jo needed treatment at a specialist stroke clinic, so an ambulance rushed her to University Hospital, Walsgrave.

Doctors gave her an injection to thin her blood and disperse the clot on her brain.

After a rapid recovery she went home three days later.

James will complete the Regency Run next month to raise money for the stroke ward at University Hospital.

He originally set himself a goal of pounds 200 but beat that in 24 hours so is now collecting as much as possible.

"I want to thank the staff and help other patients on the ward," he said.

Strokes are the UK's third biggest killer and top cause of disability.

The government is running its Act FAST campaign in the West Midlands. The adverts centre on: Facial weakness - can the person smile? Has their mouth drooped? Arms - can they raise both arms? Speech problems - can they speak clearly and understand others? Time to call 999.

Stroke-related 999 calls have risen, as have the number of local patients who spend most of their hospital stay on a specialist unit.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley survived a stroke and has made specialist care a priority for the NHS.

Copyright 2012 Coventry Newspapers Limited

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