This extract is from an article written by Pat Hagan for the Daily Mail, published on 5th April, 2005. Reproduced by kind permission of the Daily Mail.
Ken Williams, 52, from Wroughton near Swindon, Wiltshire, was one of the first people in Britain to have the implant. A toolmaker and keen musician, he suffered a stroke in 1993 when he was just 40 years old.
'I was playing with a brass band touring Yorkshire in a concert that was being broadcast on BBC radio,' he says. 'Suddenly, I couldn't read the music or understand it. I didn't know what was happening to me.'
Back home, Ken, a father of two boys - and now a grandfather, too - went to see his GP, who diagnosed stress. It was only after his speech began to become slurred a gew days after seeing his GP that he was finally sent to hospital.
As he lay in the ward awaiting treatment, Ken suffered a massive stroke that left him unable to speak for nearly two years and severely affected the whole right side of his body.
'It was a terrible time,' Ken recalls. 'I could not work because I had no movement at all down my right side, and I was confined to a wheelchair.'
Ken regained enough feeling to be able to walk with the aid of a walking stick, but he had virtually no control over his right foot. 'I was really unsafe and kept stumbling,' he says.
In 2002, he was put in touch with the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at Salisbury District Hospital, where doctors were planning trials with STIMuSTEP®. In November that year, he had the implant fitted.
'It worked straightaway,' he says. 'I just strap on the transmitter in the morning - and off I go. As soon as I lift my foot, it starts to work.
The front of my foot no longer drops forward when I'm walking. Now I can easily get to the shops or the pub.'
The full article can be viewed here (large file).