AN Ammanford stroke survivor has praised the work of support groups in Carmarthenshire, as research shows more than 80 per cent of survivors said the people they had daily contact with don’t understand the impact of a stroke.

Father-of-two Dave Jones, from Ammanford, was just 36 when he had a stroke in 2017. He had a headache and dizziness and had to leave work. His condition worsened and two days later woke up unable to see.

Dave said: “I was fairly young and fit, I regularly went to the gym; I never even considered that I could be having a stroke.

“A scan showed I’d had a bleed in my brain and I was told I was lucky to be alive. When my sight did return I had double vision and I still struggle with short term memory loss, fatigue and controlling my emotions.

“It can make you feel really lonely as people don’t understand why I’m not the same person I once was. Just the other day I wanted to cry for no reason, then was laughing. But people say, ‘he’s over six foot, what’s the matter with him?’ They just don’t understand the different ways a stroke affects you.”

Dave joined a Stroke Association group for younger male stroke survivors in Carmarthenshire, which has been a huge support.

He added: “I found out who my true friends were after the stroke. Some just didn’t interact with me again, so meeting other survivors like me has been so important.

“It’s helped me learn that it’s not about getting back to how you were before the stroke, but about taking smaller steps to rebuild your life in a different way. And you need everyone to understand that so they can support you.”

More than four out of five - 85 per cent - stroke survivors said the people they had daily contact with did not understand the impact of the stroke.

This ‘knowledge gap’ is preventing survivors getting the support they need from those closest to them, and stopping survivors from making the best possible recovery to rebuild their lives after stroke.

The charity published its findings to mark the launch of its newest campaign, Rebuilding Lives, which aims to showcase the challenges faced by stroke survivors and those who support them with their recoveries.