Jarrahdale stroke victim’s passion for life serves as an inspiration

Jarrahdale stroke victim’s passion for life serves as an inspiration

JARRAHDALE’S Brian Phillips passion for life, community and art could not be stopped by a stroke.

Mr Phillips suffered a stroke in 2014 which left him paralysed on his right side and lead to difficulties with speech and swallowing.

“Leading up to the stroke, I was at home with my brother-in-law. Then it happened, just like that,” Mr Phillips said.

His wife Eileen drove him to Armadale Hospital, after which he was transferred to Fremantle Hospital.

“I don’t remember much of those early days at Fremantle, but I can remember getting transferred via hoist from bed to bed,” Mr Phillips said.

A few days later Mr Phillips was back at Armadale Hospital and his streak of determination was shining through.

“One of the girls, she was going to go on a holiday and said ‘I want to see you walking before I leave’,” he said.

“She wanted him to do 30 metres and he did 50,” Mrs Phillips said.

“When he first had the stroke, the doctor thought he wouldn’t walk.”

The recovery process for Mr Phillips has revolved around physiotherapy and speech pathology, with specialist Suzi Rybak there every step of the way through one-on-one sessions and group work.

“With Brian, we’ve been working on his speech so he can be clear and people can understand him. He’s been excellent with that; he’s come a really long way,” she said.

Ms Rybak said the 78-year-old had been an inspiration to the group.

“I wanted to show the group what you can do if you try. I want to be active and show the world what you can still do,” Mr Phillips said.

His stroke certainly hasn’t held him back – Mr Phillips is a life member of his local Men’s Shed, participates in multiple community groups, shows his artwork in exhibitions and inspires fellow painters.

“He was painting before he had his stroke but that was with his right arm, and now he has to use his left arm,” Mrs Phillips said.

Mr Phillips said his active life in the community and continuation with art has been fantastic.

“It’s a great sensation,” he said.