WHEN Stewart Cormack woke up paralysed after a stroke two years ago, he didn’t realise this was the moment his life would change.
The 55-year-old from Bosham was working for West Sussex County Council, and getting on with life, until March 7, 2012, at 6.30am.
Waking up, expecting to get ready for work, he realised he couldn’t move.
“I woke up paralysed,” he said. “I couldn’t move at all. Luckily my wife realised and phoned the ambulance. And they rest, as they say, is history.”
After stints in Portsmouth Queen Alexandra Hospital and St Richard’s, he eventually managed to make a recovery six months down the line.
But the shock of the stroke made him decide to turn his life around.
Since then, he has written a book, started up a franchise and raised money for the Stroke Association.
“I decided I didn’t want to work for the council any more,” he said.
Although he was full of praise for the council, he decided what he really wanted to do was to help people in business, so he joined How2Franchise, as a franchisee.
The company matches companies with franchisees in the area, and gives training and support for people starting up in business.
“I have a passion for helping people,” he said.
“The whole thing for me getting out of bed in the morning is to help people out. I know what it is like not to bed able to get out of bed.
“The stroke was my kind of catalyst.”
He works with companies which want to expand, and people who want to become self-employed, and brings them together.
“I’m helping people who want to start a business, but can’t afford to do it themselves,” he said.
“I help people who are looking for a business. I have a free training course I give to people before they decide to take on a business.
“We try to match people with the franchises they like. I think self-employment is the way forward. The economy is getting better, there has not been a better time.”
As well as becoming self-employed with his franchise, he also wrote a book, One Stroke Too Many.
The book started out as a golfing manual, but turned into something else, as a business advice and self-help book rolled into one.
“Writing the book was great therapy in a way,” he said.
But he also hoped this book would help people to make positive changes in their life – perhaps without the catalyst of a stroke, as was his case.
“This book is hopefully going to engage people to think ‘actually I can do this’,” he said.
“If you want to change your situation, just change it.”
Proceeds from the book go to the Stroke Association, a charity he is passionate about. He even did a firewalk last year for the charity and raised more than £400.
In just two years, Stewart has managed to turn his life around and overcome the after-effects of his stroke, while encouraging others to follow in his footsteps.
“I have had a remarkable recovery,” he said
“I am not a stroke victim, I am a stroke victor.”
To get in touch with Stewart about his book, fundraising or franchising business, email firstname.lastname@example.org