Ian Heaviside

When Ian had a stroke leaving him paralysed down his right side, his life changed forever.

Ian lived an active life in Cumbria with his wife, working as an Instructor for the Institute of Advanced Motoring, when his life was turned upside down.  

Initially in a wheelchair, when his son struggled to push him up a hill near his home, he told his wife "take this thing away. I want to walk and if I fall down, I fall down!"  
For Ian, the stroke meant sheer frustration on every level.

As he gained strength, Ian tried unsuccessfully to return to work and realised that he was going to have to reassess his future.   He volunteered at his local Stroke Association and heard about a pilot stroke recovery project at Thrive in Gateshead.  

Ian always enjoyed pottering in the garden at home but with so much more space and therapists on hand, his horticultural knowledge and gardening skills have now grown considerably.  Thrive has also helped him to improve and maintain physical strength, dexterity and mobility, as well as building social relationships.

"Right from the beginning, I was welcomed with open arms at Thrive and coming here has become the highlight of my week!  I find the gardening very therapeutic and I’ve learnt so much, alongside having fun and making some great friends.  This project means such a lot to me."

In the company of others who have experienced the effects of a stroke, Ian has found a new confidence; using his knowledge, determination and an infectious sense of humour to forge strong bonds with his fellow gardeners. Focusing on what somebody can achieve, rather than what they can’t, is what Thrive and people like Ian are all about.

Here are examples of how your donation could help:
£20 can buy boots for a Thrive gardener
£35 can buy garden therapy starter packs including tools and seeds
£60 can pay for a therapeutic gardening session at Thrive
£100 can fund a recognised horticultural qualification

If you would like to make a donation, please click below.