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London Bridge Hospital takes to The Ship for charity pub quiz for Connect

08 January 2012

Staff members from London Bridge Hospital visited local pub, The Ship, to take part in a quiz to raise money for Connect, a charity that works with people with aphasia. Participants from London Bridge Hospital and Connect formed eight teams and competed to be crowned champions whilst raising £500 for the charity at the event.

Connect was selected as a charity that London Bridge Hospital has supported throughout 2011, as a part of the hospital’s Supporting Local Charities Campaign. Connect supports people living with aphasia, a communication disability which can occur after a stroke. Every 11 minutes, three people in the UK have a stroke and about a third of those people will have aphasia. Some people cannot speak at all, while others can no longer read or write. Connect works alongside people with aphasia and their families to develop communication and rebuild confidence, which is crucial to recovery.

Mr John Cawker has benefitted from Connect’s work. Following two heart attacks, John visited Dr Graham Jackson, Consultant Cardiologist at London Bridge Hospital in January 1997 with pains in his chest, which resulted in finding out he had bunged up arteries around his heart. Following this, over time John had seven angioplasties and six stents, all courtesy of Dr Jackson.

However on the morning of 3rd August 2006, John got up as he usually did, collected the newspaper, however he discovered he was not able to read a word of the paper, it was all gibberish. John comments: “I could not read any of it. I realised something was wrong and went upstairs to tell my wife, but I couldn’t speak. We took the train straight to London Bridge Hospital (as it was quicker than an ambulance!)” 

Following tests, John discovered that he had suffered from a minor stroke and it had left him without any numeracy, legibility and verbal skills. Dr Jackson arranged for the Head of Speech and Language Therapy at the Wellington Hospital to visit John at London Bridge Hospital one day a week to give him speech therapy.

John explains: “It was hard work, but I was determined. Through crosswords, Sudoku and other simple word and number games, I was taught to communicate all over again. My mother sadly passed away just three months after I had my stroke and, thanks to the speech and language therapy I received, I managed to successfully give a eulogy in church. That was the challenge I needed to overcome my aphasia.”

Through pure hard work and help from his family and the hospital, John regained his speech. However he feels it was the charity, Connect that helped him cope.

John explains: “When you see people who don’t have the ability to communicate and how frustrated they are, you appreciate how lucky you are to have that ability. It is so humbling. I go to drop in sessions at Connect in Southwark every other week and talk to people living with aphasia. It is good for people to know my journey and that I managed to get over aphasia and I hope I am providing them with inspiration.”

For more information on Connect – please click here

For information about speech and language therapy services at London Bridge Hospital please contact GP Liaison on 020 7234 2009