An Irish businessman who received life-saving treatment for a stroke has donated £76,000 to a brain charity.
Following life-saving treatment for a stroke he suffered last year, Danny O’Sullivan, along with assistance from his family, has donated £76,000 to The National Brain Appeal for a new aphasia service to help rehabilitate people with speech difficulties following stroke and brain injuries.
Timothy O’Sullivan and his fiancée Kacey O’Driscoll cycled 969 miles Lands End to John O’Groats to raise the money for the charity.
Danny, a father of five age 64 from Kerry and has lived in London for over 40 years, was in training for the Ring of Kerry cycle challenge last year when he experienced sudden and extreme pain in the back of his head.
It was later discovered that Danny, 63-years-old at the time, had suffered an aneurysm and was transferred to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London – the UK’s leading centre of excellence for treating diseases of the brain, spine and nervous system – where he had emergency life-saving surgery and three subsequent operations.
He spent six weeks in intensive care, two weeks in the high dependency unit and a further three months in the hospital’s Bernard Sunley ward. Danny needed intensive rehabilitation to help him to re-learn how to walk and talk. He was discharged home at the end of November of last year.
Danny, founder and chairman of the London-based Danny Sullivan Group, is married to Sheila with five children. He also has a family cattle farm in Kerry.
Danny’s son, Timothy O’Sullivan, managing director of the Danny Sullivan Group, said that the stroke came as a “huge shock” but that the family are “very lucky” that he underwent a full recovery.
A ruptured aneurysm causes a subarachnoid haemorrhage, bleeding around the brain. It is a type of stroke and is life-threatening. It is thought around 50 per cent of people do not survive. Those who do survive can be left with a long-term disability.
Danny returned to work in January this year, initially part-time and then full-time in the summer. He is “eternally” grateful
“I had fantastic care at The National Hospital and I am delighted that we as a family are able to support The National Brain Appeal. Having experienced difficulties with speech and language after my stroke, I can see how good the new aphasia service will be for patients. I feel very positive about how it could help people,” Danny said.
The O’Sullivan family’s significant donation will go towards the £600,000 The National Brain Appeal aims to raise to fund the new aphasia service. Aphasia is when a person has difficulty understanding and using language or speech, usually caused by damage to the brain following a stroke, a traumatic brain injury or a brain tumour.
Consultant neurologist Professor Alexander Leff, who will run the service, said that about 53,000 adults in the UK suffer post-stroke aphasia requiring speech and language therapy each year.
“Patients can continue to improve their language and communicative abilities with the right dose of tailored therapy – no matter how long ago the brain injury occurred. We expect patients to make significant gains,” Prof Leff said.
Theresa Dauncey, chief executive of The National Brain Appeal, added: “The National Brain Appeal’s Aphasia Service is going to make such a difference to stroke and brain injury patients who are struggling with speech. We are so grateful to the O’Sullivan family and everyone who gave donations to help these patients get the intense rehabilitation that they need.”