The best pals of a well-known and popular Clarets fan, whose life changed in a second when he suffered a massive stroke while watching his team play, are launching a fund-raising campaign.
Paul Keenan and Richard Reeves plan to walk from Burnley to Windsor to raise money to pay for the intensive round the clock therapy that David Kenyon (55) will need after he collapsed on Saturday, April 9th while watching Burnley play Leeds at his home in Pike Hill, Burnley.
After shouting “Come on Burnley’’ when his team scored their winning goal he collapsed and his wife, Josephine, who was in the garden, rushed in and found him slumped on all fours.
“I thought he had hurt his back at first or he was looking for something on the floor but then I realised something was seriously wrong when he didn’t answer me and his face and eyes were just blank and expressionless,” said Josephine. “In those few seconds our lives changed forever.”
David, a former soldier with the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment who served in Northern Ireland, was rushed to the Royal Blackburn Hospital. Because he had suffered a rare dissection stroke, which affects only 2% of victims and is a rupture of the carotid and vertebral neck arteries, medics called on the expertise of a consultant in Cumbria for a diagnosis by live video link.
The devastating stroke left David, who works as a forklift truck driver for Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick, paralysed down his right side, confined to a wheelchair and it also robbed him of his speech, known as apraxia. He has also lost all sense of co-ordination, movement and a sense of language which is known as aphasia.
David is a well known and popular guy and when his friends talked about fund-raising I was really movedJosephine Kenyon
Josephine, who is 51, added: “It was such a shock because David is a fit and strong person who has never smoked and is not a big drinker but this type of stroke can affect anyone.
“He spent two months in hospital before he was transferred to the Rakehead Rehabilitation in Centre where he spends Monday to Friday and comes home at the weekend.
“His mind and intellect is fine but because he can’t talk or move it is like he is locked inside his own body.
“But like a child he has to start learning words from the beginning and what they mean. It is difficult for us to communicate so we spend a lot of time sat holding hands and looking at each other.
“But David is a very witty and funny guy and thankfully he hasn’t lost that part of his personality which you can see through facial expressions.”
Josephine, who works as a housing officer for Calico, spends hours with her husband teaching him words and also gestures so he can indicate if he needs anything.
She said: “I have done a lot of research on strokes and the therapy needed and each case is unique so the medical profession cannot give me any promises about how David will progress. The part of his brain that controls speech and movement has been destroyed so we have to find another part to help it.
“He has started saying a few words so there is potential and a glimmer of hope there but he needs the therapy to be intensive and constant and I have no idea how much that will cost or how long it it will take.
“David is a well known and popular guy and when his friends talked about fund-raising I was really moved.”
The couple, who met 22 years ago on a blind date, tied the knot four years ago and were just starting to make new plans after their three children had flown the nest. These included spending time with their seven grandchildren and David’s pet Bassett Hounds, Dolly and Maximus.
Born in Padiham, David was a pupil at the former Gawthorpe High School and a lifelong Clarets fan who attended most of the home games.
Josephine said: “Everything has been put on hold and the last few months have been very bleak but I am a fighter and I am determined to do the best for David to get him back to health.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the fund can do so at https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/david-kenyon.
Josephine is also keen to get in touch with experts on apraxia and aphasia and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org