Vicki Brocklehurst, mother of the late Ben Littlewood, who tragically lost his life to a sudden stroke at 17, is determined to raise awareness about strokes in young people. Ben, a college-bound teenager excited about life, unexpectedly collapsed fittingly one night in 2019, leaving his family in shock.
After days of misdiagnosis, it was revealed that Ben had suffered a stroke. To honor his memory, Vicki launched ‘Ben’s Hope For Stroke Awareness,’ using painted rocks as messengers to convey the message that strokes can affect the young, told Manchester Evening News.
The initiative started on the fourth anniversary of Ben’s passing, encourages people to take these rocks on their travels, spreading awareness about the prevalence of strokes in the younger population. The rocks, adorned with Ben’s face, have already traveled over 9,000 miles, reaching locations like Canada, New York, Florida, Dubai, Egypt, Pompeii, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Iceland, France, and even Australia.
Vicki believes that by sharing Ben’s story and encouraging discussions about young strokes, lives can be saved. The initiative not only fulfills Ben’s dream of traveling the world but also creates a sense of community as people share pictures and personal messages about the rocks, keeping Ben’s memory alive.
Vicki, now an ambassador for the Different Strokes charity, emphasizes the need for change in the perception of strokes, advocating for timely recognition and treatment, especially among the youth.
She expresses hope that ‘Ben’s Hope For Stroke Awareness’ can make a difference and save lives, just as Ben’s organ donation saved four young lives. Through this initiative, Vicki aims to spotlight the importance of understanding strokes in the young and promoting early intervention to prevent future tragedies.