Aug 13, 2016
Gavin, 52, had a spinal bleed in November 2013 which left him paralysed from the head down. He collapsed at work with no symptoms or warning. Thanks to your fundraising and participation in the Aspire Channel Swim, we were able to provide him Dragon voice recognition software to help him get back to work.
Gavin’s life dramatically and instantly changed 3 years ago when he suddenly had a spinal bleed right at the top of his spine on his first vertebrae. This damage left him paralysed from head to toe. Luckily after rehab in the Stanmore Spinal Injury Centre, he regained partial use of his right hand and right leg, but there is still no movement in his left side.
“It was one of those one in 50 million occurrences,” he says, “it just happened and you couldn’t have done anything to prevent it. I was at work when I collapsed with no prior symptoms or warning at all.”
Gavin was taken to the Royal London hospital where he stayed for five months before being transferred to the Stanmore Spinal Injury Centre where he stayed for a further seven months to help with his recovery.
During his time there, Gavin met with an Aspire Assistive Technology Manager who told him about Dragon voice recognition software and how it could potentially help him get back to work.
Gavin’s injury had limited his dexterity but the software allowed him to have full control of a computer through speech commands. “It’s a wonderful programme if you have no mobility,” he says. “You navigate around your computer just by talking and build up your own vocabulary as you go.”
He applied to Aspire Grants in 2014 and was successful in funding for a computer and Dragon software. “I was over the moon when I found out. The equipment is my life line. I am much more independent and, after some practice and patience, I don’t have to type using just one finger anymore. It’s great for sending out emails, I just speak and it types for me.”
Gavin has also been living in an Aspire adapted house in Bermondsey for the past two years as he wasn’t able to return to his flat once discharged from hospital. He has two full time PAs who assist him. He said, “I probably would have ended up in a nursing home or still in hospital if I hadn’t moved into the Aspire flat. It’s all on one level with a wet room, different counter levels in the kitchen and big bedrooms to accommodate hoists – it’s a great transition home.”