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"The day I couldn't recognise my wife"

Bill had his first cigarette aged 13 because he thought it was 'cool', just 25 years later, he suffered a stroke that left him unable to recognise his own wife.

I was forced to relearn everything.

Waking up in hospital, unable to recognise his wife standing at the end of his bed, was one of the toughest moments of Bill’s life.

After decades of social smoking, the then-38-year-old, had suffered a stroke.

“I remember waking up in a bed. There was a strange lady at the end of my bed. It was my wife, but I didn’t recognise her. She asked me ‘do you know who I am?’ and I said ‘no’.”

For the next six months, the father-of-two had to relearn everything.

“I was affected quite severely. I had to try and recover my memory and learn to finish sentences, type an email and get back to driving and work. It was a pretty traumatic time,” Bill said.

Now 43, Bill wishes he could go back in time and tell his 13-year-old self that smoking is not cool when it destroys your life plans.

“I knew smoking was linked with stroke and heart attack and cancer – all those things. But I thought it would never happen to me,” he says.

“If I could go back in time and show 13-year-old me how difficult it is to recover from stroke, and how difficult it is to support your family financially after having a stroke, I think I would reconsider a lot of things.”

As part of a new campaign from Quit Victoria and the StrokeFoundation, Bill is encouraging people to quit smoking and reduce their own risk of stroke.

“Consider how difficult it’s going to be for the rest of your life if you can’t walk properly and someone else has to care for you,” Bill said.

“Do your own research. There’s enough info out there that will give you what you need to know about absolutely why you have to stop.

“No one wants smoking to shorten their life. Quit now so you can be around for your kids and your wife and your family.”

Did you know that smoking doubles your risk of stroke?

When smoking leads to stroke, you can suffer every minute of every day.

For tips to help you quit smoking and reduce your risk of stroke, visit:

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