A FORMER sailor from York who is awaiting a heart transplant has told how he also fought back from a debilitating stroke to get back to work.
Ben Wynne, 35, now works at CPP and is waiting for a transplant to overcome the “third heartbeat” which put an end to his seafaring career.
Yesterday, Ben and his colleagues helped to raise money for the British Heart Foundation’s Ramp Up The Red campaign, which aims to fund research into conditions like cardiomyopathy.
Ben, from Tadcaster Road, spent 12 years as a merchant navy officer before his cardiomyopathy, which gives him a rare third sound in his heartbeat, forced him to give it up.
He came back to York in 2011 and started work at the finance company, only to be hit with a serious stroke last February.
Ben said: “I was nearly a goner. It was a bad stroke. I was in resuscitation for eight hours with the doctors bringing me back to life.”
But his determination to get back to normal meant Ben was walking only a week after the stroke. With the help of his managers at CPP he was back at work within six months.
He now works afternoons only, and has moved to a job away from the phone as his speech has been affected by the stroke.
“It takes me ages to get ready in the morning. I can’t do buttons, because my left hand isn’t good. After the stroke my lip was really bad, I looked like the Joker, and my speech is still affected,” he said.
“My boss was very good, helping me back on a phased return to work.”
Before the stroke, Ben’s heart condition was treated in York Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary and Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, but in 2012 doctors realised there was nothing left they could do except put Ben on the list for a transplant.
Doctors believe the stroke could have been caused by his heart condition.
When blood is not properly pumped around his body the danger of clots which cause a stroke is heightened.
Yesterday, Ben and his colleagues joined the British Heart Foundation’s Ramp Up The Red campaign to raise money for research into conditions such as his.
They wore red and sold cakes, but avid Liverpool supporter Ben forced himself to spend the day in a Manchester Utd shirt, and he and his friends eventually raised more than £1,000.
For Ben, who also suffers from extreme fatigue, the biggest challenge was walking round the office with a collecting bucket for his colleagues’ spare change.
He said before the event: “I know it’s going to be hard but there is no reason why I can’t do it, and no reason why I won’t do it. I will stop for a breather if I need to.”