A family holiday abroad turned to disaster when a young father suffered a serious stroke, leaving him unable to speak or use the right side of his body.
Twenty nine-year-old Joe Redfern, of Matlock, is a self-employed stonemason with two sons - Stanley, two, and Reggie, five months.
His wife Lydia, 29, was with him when he was struck down by the sudden condition while in Corfu on October 7.
She remembered: “We had just been out all day, Joe was fine.
“I asked him to rinse out Reggie’s milk bottle and it just happened.
“He suddenly couldn’t move his right arm. He kept lifting his arm with his other arm and he couldn’t talk.
“He was frightened and I was too.”
Shocked, Lydia went to the door of the hotel and screamed for help. Joe was quickly whisked off to the local hospital.
Within hours, he was transferred to a hospital on mainland Greece and the following day family members travelled over from England to help.
Lydia continued: “It was horrible. At that point Joe couldn’t move his right arm and leg and he’d lost his speech.”
Doctors confirmed that Joe had suffered a stroke caused by a hole in his heart, which he had been unaware of.
“I was devastated,” Lydia said.
The boys were taken back to Matlock to be cared for by family members.
While stranded out in Greece, Lydia and her mother took it in turns to stay at Joe’s bedside, as he could not be left alone.
Joe was flown home on Wednesday and the couple was anxious to be reunited with their sons.
“Joe’s the best dad. He’d do anything for them,” Lydia said.
Despite everything, she said her husband is in good spirits.
“He’s quite smiley and being really brave,” she added.
“He’s regained feeling in his arm and it’s getting better each day.
“He’s not really progressed much by way of talking but I hope that will come when we get back home and he has speech therapy.”
Joe can walk on both legs now, however he still cannot use his right arm.
While his medical care is covered by travel insurance, his illness is likely to hit the family hard financially.
Lydia, a part-time nursery nurse, is currently on maternity leave and the couple has concerns over Joe’s ability to return to work at the business he runs single-handed, Jrstonemasonry.
Joe’s sister Stacey Clark, has set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for them and has also organised a fundraising football match next month.
Lydia said she has felt ‘overwhelmed’ by all the support of family and friends so far.
She added: “It’s made things a bit easier to know that everybody is thinking of him.”
- Everyone is welcome to the fundraising football match, which starts at 1.30pm on November 5 at Elton Jubilee Sports and Recreation Field.