Ken Rudge suffered a stroke at the age of 55, and while he survived the ordeal, he was left with mobility and speech difficulties. The adult members of the family understood the gravity of the situation and what had taken place, but this wasn’t the case for his grandson Ethan (aged 12 at the time), all he understood was that his granddad had changed and he didn’t know why.
Ethan’s experience has now been used as a basis for a new comic book designed to help youngsters in a similar situation. The comic book is called ‘Medikidz Explain Stroke’ and helps to explain how stroke affects the human body.
In the story Ethan’s character avoids his granddad after the stroke and finds himself surrounded by five medical superheroes called Medikidz. They take Ethan to their planet, Mediland, which is an exact replica of the human body.
The story continues with the Medikidz showing Ethan exactly why strokes happen, how they affect the body and how his granddad’s basic functions have been affected. With a better understanding of what happened to his granddad, Ethan returns home to make amends.
The book has been endorsed by the Stroke Association and is set to become part of an ongoing series to help children understand complex illnesses.
It is estimated that around 200 people die from strokes every day in the UK. Further to this, it is thought that it costs approximately £2.3 billion a year for the NHS to treat and care for the 150,000 people a year who suffer from strokes.
Three years on Ethan and his granddad are close again and despite warnings that Ken wouldn’t walk again, he is now getting around with the aid of a stick and his speech continues to improve.
Ethan, now 14, says:
“I didn’t know what to say to my granddad after he’d had the stroke, I felt really sad that things weren’t the same anymore.
“Medikidz helped me understand what Granddad was going through, why he was different and what I could do to help him. Granddad and I are famous now.”