At 25 years of age, Fares experienced a severe stroke which left him in a coma for 10 days. Upon waking, he wasn’t able to walk or talk. After 3 months of hospital rehab at St Vincent’s, he was back into the community and bit by bit has worked hard on his recovery, regaining his independence.
Now 6 years post-stroke, Fares has come a long way. He lives on his own with his little dog – a Puggle named Loui. Originally a carpenter by trade, Fares now runs his own business, Little Houses & Co, making custom beds for kids out of a factory space he rents.
Outside of work, Fares has taken up hiking with a group, who head out every two weeks, their latest adventure taking place in the Dandenong Ranges. Fares enjoys hiking for the social interaction, being in nature and the physical aspect. Other hobbies of his include camping, travel and golf – none of these were a part of his life before the stroke, he notes he was more focussed on work then.
Throughout his treatment, Fares has had some major goals which he and his Speech Pathologists have been targeting, for example sentence recall and writing skills. Fares has had to learn to use his non-dominant hand for writing, as his dominant side was affected by the stroke. He admits handwriting is still a struggle but he can successfully manage typing and texting, often with assistive technology such as voice-to-text software because spelling can present a challenge. Fares acknowledges he has had to adapt, but he now feels he has strategies and techniques in place to achieve his objectives.
While each person’s rehabilitation journey is unique, Fares attributes his progress to the expected things – time, effort, determination, practice and lots of repetitions. But he also mentions hope, belief and the support of his friends in aiding his ongoing recovery. And he is extremely grateful for what he has achieved. He recalls that when the stroke first occurred, he was focussing on what he had lost, thinking “I can’t do that”, but now he tends to focus on what he has gained and what he can do, which seems to propel him further forwards.
The next big thing for Fares is a three week solo trip to India! It means a lot to him that he can aspire to something so huge and exciting. He says, “The holiday is a big thing – the fact that I can stop everything at home – and just explore – it’s a good thing for me!”
Fares is glad he can share his story, he hopes to be an example to other young people who have experienced stroke by showing them they can achieve similar things – “you just need to have it in your mind and give it time and patience.”