Stroke Survivor Calvin Southwell Shares Inspirational Story During Stroke Awareness Month


As Stroke Awareness Month draws to a close, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is proud to feature the personal story of Calvin Southwell, a stroke survivor whose journey exemplifies courage, resilience, and the importance of awareness and timely medical intervention.

In 2019, Calvin Southwell experienced a life-altering event when he suffered a stroke. His experience serves as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of recognizing the signs of stroke and seeking immediate medical attention.

Calvin’s story was shared during a special segment on the latest episode of House Calls on ABS TV & Radio, a programme dedicated to discussing medical challenges and providing essential health information.

Dr. Georgette Meade, renowned cardiologist and President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, led the discussion alongside Dr. Andre Peters, respected physical therapist at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre.

“Calvin Southwell’s story is both sobering and inspiring,” said Dr. Meade. “His journey underscores the urgency of stroke awareness and the lifesaving impact of prompt medical intervention. By sharing his experience, Calvin is helping to empower others to recognize the signs of stroke and take action.”

During the programme, the Foundation’s Ambassador Calvin recounted his personal battle with stroke, highlighting the sudden onset of symptoms and the crucial role of timely medical treatment. His message resonates particularly with men, urging them to prioritize their health and not ignore warning signs.

“I got up one morning feeling incredibly tired, more than usual. My wife noticed something was wrong because I kept saying I was tired and couldn’t remember things. She called the doctor, and he immediately recognized the signs of a stroke. I was reluctant to call an ambulance, thinking it was unnecessary, but she insisted. Thank God she did, because the quicker they caught me, the better it was for my recovery.”

Calvin went on to emphasize the importance of awareness and health management.

“I’m a diabetic, and years ago, Dr. Prince Ramsey warned me about my high sugar levels. He always told me to take my medication, but I often forgot or neglected to do it. I was so focused on work that I ignored my health. If there’s one thing, I can tell everyone, especially young men, it’s to check your health regularly. Know your numbers and take your medication. Exercise and eat properly because ignoring these things can lead to serious consequences.”

He also spoke about the challenges of recovery and the importance of maintaining a sense of humour.

“I was coming off my stroke situation and not really understanding too much about stroke and what the symptoms were. Learning how to speak again was a major challenge for me. I went from zero. I had to learn how to talk. It took nearly a year for me to hold a good conversation, and even now, I still struggle sometimes. But I’ve learned to laugh at myself and maintain a sense of humour. Without that, it would be hard to survive.”

“Stroke can happen to anyone, at any age,” said Southwell. “It’s imperative that we educate ourselves about the signs of stroke and act quickly if we or someone we know experiences them. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story and raise awareness during Stroke Awareness Month.”

The Heart & Stroke Ambassador’s journey is a powerful reminder of the importance of health awareness and management. His story inspires others to take proactive steps to safeguard their health and underscores the critical role of family support in recovery.

“Support is very important for people who have had a stroke. I kind of gave up at one point, refused to eat, and became very depressed. But having family around, being patient, and showing love made a big difference. It’s very hard to deal with someone who has had a stroke, but their support helped me through the toughest times.”

The Foundation invites the public to attend the 6th Annual Cardiac Symposium scheduled for Sunday, February 23, 2025, to learn more about the advancements in stroke and heart health. Stay tuned for further details and updates.

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