In 2017, soon-to-be husband Andrew Brown suffered a bleed on the brain and was left completely unable to walk or talk.
But he was determined not to let the effects of his injury stop him from having his dream wedding and he set himself the ambitious target of walking his wife up the aisle and having their first dance together.
Andrew, now 32, said:
Brain injury or no brain injury; I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of marrying the woman I love.
Before his injury, Andrew, from Nottingham, led what he described as a “fairly normal life”. He enjoyed spending time with his fiancée Rebecca and exploring different countries and cultures with his family.
But everything changed in 2017 while Andrew was sat on the toilet.
“I went to the toilet and stood up to wipe my bottom when I suddenly felt a pain on the right-hand side of my head and started to feel sick,” he said.
“I called for Rebecca who is luckily first aid trained. She thought I might be having a stroke so performed all the checks on me. The only thing I could do was talk at that time.”
Andrew was rushed to hospital and placed into an induced coma for nine days. Complications followed as he required dialysis for a pre-existing kidney problem, but after a lengthy stay in the hospital, he started his rehabilitation at Linden Lodge.
Andrew said: “I went to rehab on 16 August 2017 and was due to get married on 4 February 2018. I wasn’t even able to walk a few steps at this point, never mind walk up and down the aisle or dance, but it didn’t stop me from trying.
Rebecca was by my side every step of the way throughout my recovery as I learnt to walk, talk and eat again.
“I was doing intense physiotherapy every day of the week to give myself the best possible chance of making my wedding day. Thanks to this, and the incredible support of my now wife, we made it.
“I walked Rebecca back up the aisle and we had our first dance at the wedding reception. Our entire guestlist were up on their feet applauding us as we walked back up the aisle. It made me realise how far I had come.
"I was completely overcome with pride. As a team, Rebecca and I had finally achieved our goal. It was the happiest day of my life.
“As you can imagine, the first dance didn’t involve a lot of movement, but it was such a beautiful moment for us both. It felt as though it was just the two of us in the room, enjoying our favourite song together for the first time as husband and wife.
“I even tackled my first flight of stairs with the support of Rebecca and my brother-in-law after not realising the marital suite was on the first floor, not the ground floor!”
When asked what advice he’d give to other brain injury survivors, Andrew said: “Don’t be too hard on yourself, take your time with things and don’t give up.”
Andrew still struggles with the effects of his injury such as left sided paralysis, reduced information processing ability and fatigue, but he feels positive about his future.
He and Rebecca have plans to travel the world together and experience everything life has to offer.
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