‘Thank you Rowans for saving my life’

A MAN who suffered six strokes on the same morning has credited The Rowans day centre with saving his life.

When Tony Ward, 49, of Bramble Lane, Durrington, first visited the centre two years ago he was taking 45 tablets a day, including anti-depressants and morphine, and could not walk or move his neck.

Nowadays Tony says he is fitter than he was in his 20s and has reduced his daily tablet intake to four.

“If I didn’t have these facilities, I would be dead 1,000 per cent,” said Tony.

“It’s like a big family here. My mum comes to visit and they make her feel welcome, everyone helps everyone.”

The cause of Tony’s strokes was a hole in the heart he had had, but not known about, since birth. At the age of just 43 he had one stroke in his sleep and another five when he woke up.

He said: “I got up on what I thought was a normal day and my life changed that morning. From being fit and able I couldn’t even wash myself.”

Following his strokes, Tony was left with osteoporosis – he has since broken his neck and spine four times.

With the amount of morphine he was taking Tony said he could sleep ‘like a zombie’ – six days at a time without waking up.

“The doctor even said the amount of morphine I was taking would kill me,” he said.

Tony moved to the area from London after he was refused physiotherapy over fears he might break a bone while undergoing treatment.

“I was expecting them (The Rowans) to say no you can’t join but they said ‘of course you can’ and I have not looked back since.

“I’m off all the anti-depressants and I’m at the gym three days a week, 
I have lost so much weight. I come to have a chat because 
I live on my own you see.”