Australia Tommy Quick's had a stroke, but it won't stop him from pedaling around Australia
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Tommy Quick was 12 when he experienced an intense headache. Five weeks and two days later he woke up from an induced coma, dazed and confused.
"I tried to speak but no words came out. I tried to move, I couldn't move. That just led to an instant panic attack," Mr Quick said.
"I thought I was in a video game to be honest."
Mr Quick had experienced a stroke, which can lead to muscle weakness, paralysis and stiffness — usually on one side of the body.
The 28-year-old has had a long road to recovery.
"I had to learn to do everything, from walking to talking to swallowing, even lifting my head up was a challenge," he said.
Mr Quick went on to set challenges and goals for himself. Hiking the Kokoda Track in 2014 was his first big achievement, and now he's set another goal to cycle 9,000 kilometres on his recumbent trike across Australia.
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Cycling through a pandemic
The Victorian man hoped to begin his journey from Steep Point in Western Australia on Monday, August 2, the beginning of National Stroke Week.
He was instead grounded on his way over there, having to stay in Cowell, South Australia during the state's recent.
"I was hoping to start at Steep Point, then make my way to Wilsons Prom, Cape Byron then Cape York — the four most extreme points in Australia, but COVID has held us back," he said.
Research from the Stroke Foundation showswith 50-85 per cent of stroke survivors left with long term problems including seizures, physical disability, speech or learning difficulties.
Mr Quick said when he first had his stroke, he struggled to accept his new life.
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"I didn't feel it had happened to me, I felt like I was in a video game and if I pressed that button, everything could go back to normal -I wasn't accepting that this had happened," he said.
"It was a lot do with acceptance, and accepting I had had a stroke."
Mr Quick wants to raise awareness about social inclusion for people with disabilities, planning to meet with communities along the way to share his story.
"I don't like the word disability, because I think everybody's got an ability, they may just be handicapped in some areas and brilliant in others," he said.
He says his advice to young stroke survivors is to set challenges and goals.
"Life after stroke isn't at all bad. Shit happens, shit can happen — it's how you deal with it," he said.
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