Jay Johnson, 48, suffered two strokes in the span of three months, which he put down to years of indulging in his favourite meal, a fish supper.
The dad believed he could ‘eat anything he wanted’ until he had his first stroke four years ago, swiftly followed by a second one just 11 weeks later.
Unfortunately, the strokes took such a toll on his body that he was left blind and brain damaged.
Jay, who lives near Dunfermline, Fife, is now speaking out about his story to raise awareness.
He told the Daily Record: “When I was 21, I only weighed seven stone, so I thought I could eat anything I wanted. I loved fish suppers.
“If I could talk to my 18-year-old self, I would tell myself to wise up. Before my stroke, I didn’t have a clue an unhealthy lifestyle could cause a stroke.
“I never want to run the risk of having another stroke. That is why I’ve made lifestyle changes and it’s making me feel like a happier, better person.”
Jay traced back his unhealthy lifestyle to the age of 19, when his dad Mervyn, a part-time soldier, was murdered by the Irish Republican Army in Belfast.
Things swiftly became worse as Jay was forced to nurse his fiancé, Julie Cooke, through her battle with cancer.
Sadly, she died just a month before they were due to be married, resulting in Jay’s tumultuous relationship with food spiralling out of control.
Just five months later, he suffered his first stroke while chatting to a friend on FaceTime.
Doctors advised him that high blood pressure was the cause and it was only 11 weeks later that Jay suffered a second stroke.
In a tragic turn of events, this stroke was more serious, which left him blind and brain damaged – Jay therefore regularly feels irritable and overly emotional.
Since 2018 when his strokes occurred, the dad has aimed to get his life back on track.
He now enjoys disabled darts with the help of his guide dog Bailey, and is set to marry his fiancée, Sarah Thompson, in August this year.
His inspirational story does not stop there, as Jay is now pursuing an international sports career playing darts, as well as working towards a UK Paralympic team place playing goalball – a team sport specifically designed for athletes with a vision impairment.
Featured Image Credit: Mirrorpix
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