James on FAST track to stroke recovery

James Paterson (centre) is joined by actors Ian Sexon and Jane McCarry to launch the Thnik FAST! campaign at Cineworld, Aberdeen'(Photo Ross Johnston/ Newsline Media)
James Paterson (centre) is joined by actors Ian Sexon and Jane McCarry to launch the Thnik FAST! campaign at Cineworld, Aberdeen'(Photo Ross Johnston/ Newsline Media)

Stars of TV’s Still Game are to appear in a new advert which uses Scottish humour and “banter” to raise awareness of the symptoms of a stroke.

The video has been produced by national charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) in partnership with NHS Grampian, and features the actors who play Navid, Isa and Bobby the Barman in the hit TV show.

The scene is set in a traditional pub and stage and screen veteran Ian Sexon plays Donald, a man who has a stroke. His friends fail to immediately recognise the signs until the barman realises he is having a stroke and calls for an ambulance.

The video’s Think FAST! – face – arms – speech - time to call 999 – message is supported by a Facebook and Twitter campaign and the video is available to watch on YouTube and STV player.

The campaign has been backed by James Paterson from Stonehaven, who had a stroke but made a full recovery thanks to his wife, Linda, being aware of the FAST rules.

James said: “The doctors, nurses and therapists provide such an incredible level of service, but the best chance you can give yourself of a full recovery is that early diagnosis and I feel raising awareness of this is absolutely key.”

When James fell out of bed shortly after returning from a business trip to Italy in February 2013, it was his wife’s quick thinking and presence of mind which potentially saved his life.

Linda, his wife of 41 years, recalled a CHSS advert she had seen on the FAST campaign (Face, Arm, Speech and Time) and quickly checked James’ ability to speak and lift his arm. When he struggled with both, she immediately called 999.

Paramedics soon arrived at their home in Stonehaven and were quick to supply oxygen and transfer him through to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where he was diagnosed with having had a stroke.

James added: “I don’t remember much about the stroke itself.

‘‘I was pretty much in a state of half consciousness, but I do recall feeling numb down the whole right hand side of my body and being unable to speak properly. I was mumbling.

“I guess I am living proof of the importance of the CHSS Think FAST! Campaign, who knows how things could’ve turned out had Linda not followed the simple instructions.

“I feel raising awareness of this is absolutely key.”

James is now chairman of the Exercise After Stroke Stonehaven group, which has around 10 members with varying stroke experiences who meet weekly with fitness instructor, Sue Leftwich, to take part in recovery exercises.

David Clark, chief executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “Time is critical if you suspect someone is having a stroke so we have launched this new Think FAST! campaign to raise awareness of the typical symptoms and underline the importance of getting medical attention quickly.”

To watch the advert visit www.thinkfast.org.uk.