In December last year Ricky Howley, who is now 28, suffered a bleed on the brain caused by a birth defect that nobody knew about.
The self-employed bricklayer had been complaining for months of headaches and a stiff neck before he collapsed at his home in Norfolk Park.
He underwent emergency surgery in hospital, however after a brief period of recovery he took a turn for the worse suffered another massive bleed. He spent the next four weeks in intensive care.
Now, one year later, his family has praised the tireless work of Sheffield’s NHS rehabilitation services and Ricky’s friends and fiance, as the dad-of-one continues to make a recovery and can now speak and walk again.
Anna Barstow, Ricky’s mum, said: “We just want to say thank you to the doctors and nurses, and the rehabilitation staff, who were all brilliant and saved his life.
"Ricky is here, and he is getting better. That could have been very different.
"He has received physio, speech therapy and occupational therapy nearly every day, even in this difficult time for the NHS, and he can now walk again and speak again.
"We also want to say thank you to everyone who donated to the GoFundMe, which was set up by his friend Ben. When he had his accident he had nothing, and we didn’t get PIPs for months because of Covid.
"He had nothing, and had just got a mortgage. Even strangers donated money and that saved him.”
Anna spoke of how difficult it was while Ricky was in intensive care but family members were unable to visit him due to Covid restrictions.
"We couldn’t see him for four months, while he was in ICU,” she said. “I got to see him on video after five weeks.
"We couldn’t see him in rehab until April, when we were allowed one person and his fiance Beth went to see him. Beth has been a rock for him throughout all this.
"He had a target to get home for his birthday on April 22 and he achieved that.”
Ricky is now at home with Beth and his daughter Millie, who is nine. His speech is still not as good as it used to be, and he struggles with his balance, so has a place booked in to attend more rehabilitation in Abbeydale in the new year.
He underwent a scan which found that the bleed was caused by a birth defect known as an AVM – which is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels.
His next step is to undergo surgery or radiotherapy to solve this issue.
"Ricky is feeling positive,” said Anna. “He has a lot of support from his family and friends. It has been hard, especially because of isolation and Covid, but we are feeling more hopeful and we want to say thank you to everybody who helped.”