Football fan Mike attends his first match following a life-altering stroke

Football fan Mike attends his first match following a life-altering stroke zoom

Mike Short, aged 56, thought he would never experience the thrill of watching his beloved Colchester Football Club at the Community Stadium.

As a young man Mike had epilepsy and at the age of 21, he had a stroke following an operation to control his seizures. Previously a fit and active person who loved football, cars, and going for a beer, Mike has lived his adult life requiring 24-hour care.

Thanks to the team at the home in Colchester, Mike’s wish to soak up the atmosphere of a game has been made a reality.

Alderwood Care Home is located on Essex Hall Road and provides residential, nursing, dementia, and specialist end of life care. Mike moved into the home in September last year.

Lifestyle coordinator Taylor Gordon organised for Mike to attend the Colchester United Vs Wrexham match on April 6. Fellow residents Jeya Satkuru, Ann Cutting, and John Ashworth joined Mike for the experience.

Taylor, who accompanied Mike with clinical manager Charlotte Collier, says that Mike was over the moon when his team scored in the first half.

“Mike had the most fantastic time, there was a huge smile on his face throughout the match,” said Taylor.

“When Jayden Fevrier scored for Colchester, Mike actually screamed and punched the air with excitement. He has been a Colchester United fan since he was a boy and always follows the football results to see how they’ve done, but it was his dream to be part of the crowd.

“We were also able to make one of Mike’s other wishes come true, to have a pint after he watched the football! Mike’s health declined several years ago, and doctors fitted him with a PEG tube into his stomach for food and hydration. This meant he wasn’t able to eat or drink.

“Since being with us at Alderwood, Mike has made great progress. The PEG tube is gone, and he can now enjoy eating soft food and drinking thickened fluids – including a pint of beer!”

Mike added: “I had the best time, even though we didn’t win that couldn’t dampen how amazing the whole day was. I was able to enjoy a glass of Coke at half time and the beer after the game was, even better. A small thing for many people, but a significant milestone for me.”

“I would love to go back, and hopefully witness a win next time!”

The team at the care home have also significantly improved the Colchester fan’s mobility over the last few months. Initially, they had to use a full body hoist to move Mike around the home, but through a programme of tailored physiotherapy, he can now bear his own weight and move using a stand aid.

Home manager Nicola Leaney said: “Our team are committed to putting our residents first and we offer bespoke care based on individual needs. This extends to the residents’ hobbies and interests too, which is why we supported Mike to visit his beloved Colchester United.

“It has been wonderful to see Mike make such progress since making Alderwood his home last year. He continues to have intense physiotherapy with the aim of getting him walking again.

“For Mike to be more mobile and be able to get out and about into the community would make a massive difference to his independence and quality of life.”

Mike’s parents, Anita and David Short, visit him daily and have been overwhelmed by his progress over the last seven months.

David commented: “We cannot thank Nikki and the team enough for not giving up on Mike, and for helping to improve his quality of life, it brings us so much happiness.

“He has enjoyed so many new experiences, including going to watch rugby matches and disabled ice skating. Mike deserves to have a bit of normality in his life, including having a beer after watching a football match!”

Alderwood is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and received a ‘Highly Commended’ for their palliative and end of life care at the Great British Care Awards 2023.