A brave college lecturer wants to raise awareness about the brain condition which almost claimed his life when the annual Pendle Powerfest returns this month.
Graham Midgley (58) thought he was suffering from a kidney infection when he took himself to hospital in July last year.
Instead, it would turn out to be the beginning of a journey that would “change his life forever.”
Graham said: “I was taken up to a ward specialising in diabetes and given a bed. A couple of hours later, I was unable to walk, talk properly and falling over when trying to use the toilet – I was a mess.”
It would take weeks and countless tests before doctors were able to confirm that the father-of-three had been affected by encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
But before then, Graham lost weight, his vision changed so that through one eye everything was tilted 90 degrees and he needed oxygen as doctors began to fear for his life.
Graham, who lives on Edge End Avenue, Brierfield, added: “My immediate family and friends were all taken to one side and told to expect the worst. It looked very likely that I would not pull through. I overheard this and thought, ‘no way is that happening without a fight.’”
“One minute, I was a healthy 57-year-old with a racing car, a trials bike and I was learning and restoring two mini motos while eagerly awaiting the birth of my second grandchild.
“I was a model car racer, college lecturer in Electrical Installation, wiring and testing, engineering, technical drawing.”
Two weeks after admitting himself to hospital, Graham was transferred to the neurology ward at Preston Royal.
This would prove to be the turning point as doctors were able to diagnose that he had indeed been affected by encephalitis.
His rehabilitation has seen him undergo months of physiotherapy and occupational therapy as he rebuilds his life.
Now he is hoping for a big turnout at this year’s Pendle Powerfest on May 29th at Nelson and Colne College where The Encephalitis Society will be the chosen charity.
For more information visit www.pendlepowerfest.com and www.encephalitis.info.