On a mission to inspire other stroke survivors, medical miracle Flight Lieutenant Nathan Nguyen is climbing five mountains in Canberra during National Stroke Week (Sep 2-8) to raise awareness for brain injury and stroke in young adults.
Covering an ambitious 15.4 kilometres over six days, the Air Force armament engineer has the unwavering support and care of his wife, Kerrie, family, Air Force mates and community support groups such as Soldier On.
This is the second time Flight Lieutenant Nguyen has participated in a Steps for Stroke fundraiser, the inaugural event was held at RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia, last year.
He hopes to raise vital funds for the Brain Foundation and Stroke Foundation.
Flight Lieutenant Nguyen suffered a stroke at the age of 29 from a workplace accident in May 2017, which left him paralysed on his left side.
“I was in a coma post the accident; my wife Kerrie was told that I’d be lucky to walk again and regain any feeling back in the left hand side of my body,” Flight Lieutenant Nguyen said.
“I had a number of surgeries, which essentially saved my life, but unfortunately couldn’t reverse any of the damage done.
“Determined to prove the experts wrong, I went on to spend months at a rehabilitation hospital and relearning how to walk.
“I’m using this life-changing experience to shift the public perception of stroke, that it’s an old person disease."
About 60,000 Australians suffer a stroke each year with nearly a one third of working age.
“Anyone, regardless of their fitness and age, has the potential to have a stroke,” Flight Lieutenant Nguyen said.
"During National Stroke Week, I want to ramp up the awareness efforts by challenging myself to mountain climbing – showing other young stroke survivors my journey and inspiring them not to quit.
His wife has no doubt he will reach every summit and will be alongside him for every step to the top.
“Nathan has always had a strong and determined spirit throughout this journey so I knew whatever goal he set his mind to, will be very achievable,” she said.
“We are so grateful for the ongoing support since Nathan’s injury occurred. Both his previous and current units have been highly supportive during his recovery, assisting in whatever ways they can.”