Teenage stroke survivor receives national award

Teenage stroke survivor Andrew Leather has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association, in recognition of his courage throughout his recovery.
Teenage stroke survivor Andrew Leather has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association, in recognition of his courage throughout his recovery.

A teenage stroke survivor from South Tyneside has been recognised for the courage he showed throughout his recovery with a national award.

Andrew Leather, from Hepscott Terrace, South Shields, was just 15 when he woke one night in November 2013 and found himself paralysed from the neck down all of his left side.

After being taken to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Andrew was diagnosed with a stroke.

He was found to have suffered a bleed on the brain, caused by an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels.

After an operation to prevent further bleeds, Andrew spent 14 weeks in hospital while he underwent intensive rehabilitation.

But now, three years on, Andrew has come a long way and his courage has been recognised with the Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award.

He was nominated for the Stroke Association. accolade by his proud grandmother Mary Leather.

“As a family, we are all so proud of Andrew; of the courage he has shown and the adult he has become,” she said.

During his time in hospital, Andrew even continued with school lessons ahead of his GCSE exams, which he sat in June and attained high grades.

He then left the ward needing a wheelchair, but was able to walk 20 yards to the amazement of hospital staff.

Now he is walking normally with the aid of an orthotic splint and has started a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Sunderland.

During his recovery, Andrew’s mother and father put their working lives on hold while they cared for him. His dad accepted voluntary redundancy to become his full-time carer at home.

His father Tony added: “We’ve taken the positives from what Andrew has been through and it’s made us all appreciate each other even more.

“We were overwhelmed at the support we had from family and friends.

“He had to re-learn how to walk again and the way he has overcome this adversity is truly inspirational.”