Young stroke survivor comes a long way

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Nathan Nguyen and wife Kerrie Teo…. “I had a fair amount of shock at the extent of my injury, but I was keen to prove the doctors wrong.” Photo: Holly Treadaway

STROKE survivor Nathan Nguyen climbed five of Canberra’s hills and mountains over five days to raise awareness of stroke in young people.

Through his efforts in making it to the top of Mt Taylor, Mt Painter, Mt Arawang, Mt Ainslie and Red Hill, and other fundraising events over the past two years, Nathan has raised more than $15,000 for the Stroke Foundation and was a finalist in its 2020 Stroke Awards Fundraiser of the Year category.

Following an ischaemic stroke caused by a work injury in 2018, Air Force armament engineer Nathan, now 32, was given the grim prognosis that he wouldn’t walk again.

“I had a fair amount of shock at the extent of my injury but I was keen to prove the doctors wrong,” he says.

“Therapy has been and still is a huge effort, though it is paying off and I can walk again despite everything taking a lot longer than I’d like.

“If nothing else, perseverance has always been one of my virtues.”

Nathan, of Harrison, says he wanted the physical challenge of tackling some of Canberra’s peaks.

“Before the injury I was an avid hiker, so it felt important to me that I get something of the old me back, even in a limited capacity,” he says.

“It wasn’t easy, nothing like it would have been three years ago, but I had my wife Kerrie and a group of supporters with me which helped me get there.”

Nathan says he is continuing in his recovery, having returned to work last year.

“I’m fortunate to be cognitively intact, and grateful that I’m still essentially me and that the stroke didn’t cause any lasting damage in that regard,” he says. 

“It’s the physical component I’m still battling with and I need a stick to help me with walking sometimes, though my main issue is my left arm. It used to be a dead weight but now I can move it a bit.

“From being wheelchair-bound to where I am now, I’ve come a long way.”

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist with a particular interest in homes and gardens.

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