AT 34 and living an active lifestyle, Bicton resident Rob Goyen felt invincible.
But his confidence was shattered in January 2009 when dropping a wheelie bin was the first sign he was suffering a stroke.
“I picked it up and then it fell out of my hand again,” he said. “Then my right side started going numb.
“I phoned my wife who was a few minutes away in the car and said ‘please come home fast’.”
Wife Vanessa called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital, actions he knows saved his life.
But the health scare meant he had to effectively rebuild his life from square one.
“I was really fit and felt bullet-proof when it happened,” he said.
“For it to come out of the blue really scared me.
“It took me a while to have the confidence to go windsurfing again because I was concerned I’d have another stroke and drown.
“Anxiety is probably the biggest impact the stroke has left me with.”
But Mr Goyen has been determined to stay active.
His road to recovery started with the basics, including picking up pencils to get his right hand moving and walking a few metres at a time.
From there, he began walking from his home to the Swan River with his pet dog, using local parks as gyms.
“My favourite spot is between East Fremantle Yacht club and the spit at Point Walter,” Mr Goyen said.
“I think I know every inch of that area now and still love it more and more each day.”
With his physical rehabilitation complete, Mr Goyen has turned his attention to helping others.
One of his main goals is to talk with younger stroke survivors.
“All I want to do is sit with the stroke survivor and listen, then we can share experiences as that’s what I needed and I know many others have asked for,” he said.
Mr Goyen will also take part in the National Stroke Foundation’s Stride for Stroke event in November.
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