Plymouth teenager left with disabilities after suffering a stroke urges other youngsters to be aware of the condition
A TEENAGER who has been left with disabilities after suffering a stroke is urging other youngsters to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of the potentially fatal brain condition.
Seventeen-year-old Kostya Taylor has always dreamed of becoming a policeman but after suffering an ischemic stroke in February last year he will never be able to realise this.
National charity Make-A-Wish Foundation has now given the teenager and his mum Irina a day to remember with police in London.
Kostya, who lives in Devonport, was 16 when he collapsed one afternoon while at home alone.
He explained how he began feeling unwell after college one day with a "sharp" headache on one side followed by drowsiness.
"And then I collapsed," he said. "I had to drag myself along into another room where the telephone was using my elbows which gave me carpet burns up my arms. I was confused and terrified."
Kostya had seen the stroke awareness advert on television and when he called 999 he told them he thought he'd suffered a stroke because he couldn't move his right side and had slurred speech.
Two days after being rushed to Derriford Hospital Kostya was told he had suffered an ischemic stroke, which occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked.
Irina, Kostya's mum, has had to quit her job as a healthcare assistant to become her son's full time carer. She said: "In one day your life changes, it completely turns upside down. I knew that day that our lives had changed forever.
"The doctors have told us that he will never make a full recovery and he is more dependent on me now. I have to help him do things like shower, dress, and put his shoes on. Things did change dramatically that day."
Kostya's speech, memory and physical ability have all been affected by the stroke.
"I want to raise awareness of strokes," he said. "People can die from them. I think the advert I watched saved my life. Having a stroke is upsetting and stressful. I used to have nightmares that I would have another one."
Kostya, who has been undergoing physiotherapy since his stroke, recently had a respite when he had his police wish granted by national charity Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The teenager and his mum were given a tour of Scotland Yard and taken on a police boat down the Thames before heading off to Lewisham Police Station where he met police dogs and horses, saw a police helicopter land, got to sit in the police cars and on the motorcycles and was even given his very own uniform.
But the icing on the cake for Kostya was being given the opportunity to investigate a crime scene which had been specially created for him.
"After everything Kostya's wish was more than we could ever have expected," said Irina. "It's difficult for Kostya to say which part was his favourite – he loved it all – but for me it was seeing him so happy. It was a truly amazing wish."