The ‘fantastic dad’ who survived three strokes at 21

Family man: Stroke survivor Andrew Aylen of Aylesbury with wife Alison and their children Luke, seven, and Abby, two
Family man: Stroke survivor Andrew Aylen of Aylesbury with wife Alison and their children Luke, seven, and Abby, two

Andrew Aylen survived three strokes when he was just 21.

It was devastating to be left with severe disabilities at such a young age, but now, 10 years later, he is happily married with two children.

He said: “All I could do was to cope with each day at a time and hope for a future.”

Andrew, 34, who lives in Aylesbury, added: “After my first stroke in 2000, I could walk but my speech wasn’t great.

“Then I had another stroke which put me in a wheelchair for nine months.

“I also needed surgery after each stroke, which eventually caused me to develop epilepsy.

“I found it very difficult and was worried about the future. But I was desperate to recover enough to ask Alison, my girlfriend, to be my wife.

“I didn’t want to get married until I could walk and work again, so I set them as my recovery goals.

“When I came home I could only walk inside and Alison had to push my wheelchair when we were outdoors, but slowly things progressed and I can now walk to the local shop.”

Andrew used to work in IT before his strokes and having done some stand-up comedy, he dreamed of becoming a comedian.

Although he could not pursue that career, Andrew was keen to find a job.

He explains: “I was determined to work, so after a year of recovering at home, I cleaned offices.

“I was just pleased to work. After a while it was too painful to carry on – it is hard to do manual jobs when you only have one arm to use.”

The couple now have two children, Luke aged six and Abby, two.

Andrew looks after them most days while Alison works as a physiotherapist.

“Andy is a fantastic dad,” said Alison, 37.

“I know the children are lucky to spend so much time with him.

“He is incredibly patient with them and has a wonderful sense of humour.

“Equally I know he would love to be working, even if it was only part-time.

“Our reality is that I have to work full-time to financially support the family so Andy has to be there for the kids.”

Andrew said: “I struggle with things that others take for granted.

“It’s been very rewarding seeing the children develop, but it can also be lonely because my experience is different to other parents.”

May is stroke awareness month.