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‘The biggest relief’: Wilmot man out of coma, making progress after sinus infection turned stroke

Raeanne Kerr has been by her partner Brad Lightfoot’s side in hospital since a sinus infection spread to his brain and caused a stroke on Jan. 16. He is now awake and is making fast progress, but still faces an uphill battle as he begins his recovery.
Raeanne Kerr has been by her partner Brad Lightfoot’s side in hospital since a sinus infection spread to his brain and caused a stroke on Jan. 16. He is now awake and is making fast progress, but still faces an uphill battle as he begins his recovery. - Contributed
WILMOT, N.S. —

Bonny Lightfoot didn’t know if her son Brad Lightfoot would wake up after his sinus infection spread to his brain and caused a stroke Jan. 16.

Everyone was in shock as he was rushed to hospital, but he has woken from his coma and is speaking and eating solid foods as he starts his recovery in hospital in Halifax with his partner, Raeanne Kerr, and family and friends by his side.

Bonny says she is relieved, but many days are still hard as Brad grapples with what happened to him and his long recovery ahead.

“It was the biggest relief of all when he knew us – the family, and Raeanne – but this has not been easy. It’s still incredibly hard, and it’s day-by-day,” says Bonny.

Brad had no idea what happened to him when he woke up in hospital. Bonny says breaking the news to him with Kerr was excruciating.

“He was so confused and scared – it was really hard to tell him. He’s shocked that this could happen to him, just like we were when this all started,” says Bonny.

Already eating solid foods

Kerr says she and Brad’s family have had to explain more than once how his condition went from a sinus cold to a stroke, and that it gets a little harder each time to relive those moments.

But she says everything becomes O.K. again once the focus shifts from that to how well Brad is doing so far in his recovery.

Brad’s most recent milestone was passing his swallow test, meaning he is now cleared to eat solid foods – a big step, according to doctors.

“We’re so happy about that. He went right to a full diet, which doesn’t happen for most people. I think it lifted his spirits, too,” says Kerr.

A benefit has been planned to support Brad Lightfoot – pictured here with nephew, Grayson – in his continued recovery. It is set for March 10 at the Melvern Square Community Centre.
A benefit has been planned to support Brad Lightfoot – pictured here with nephew, Grayson – in his continued recovery. It is set for March 10 at the Melvern Square Community Centre.

Brad has also reached another milestone – he’s gone from being able to speak just a few words at once to having full conversations.

But even with the progress, he feels frustrated that he is not where he once was.

“He’s a little bit more himself every single day, but he’s a little angry at the world, and frightened – he can’t believe this happened. But he’s doing really good, all things considered,” says Kerr.

Bonny is happy when she sees her son’s progress but admits it’s difficult to understand how this  happened to her son.

“It’s hard to watch because you had a vibrant son living life to fullest who’s now having to come to a halt. So, it’s hard, but we’re here as a family and support him and are all fighting for him. He’s got some friends here too by his side every day,” she says.

Friends and family

Brad is now working with physical and occupational therapists at regaining control of the right side of his body. There is still no movement on his left.

Kerr says he is learning how to get through life with the motion he has on his right side – tasks like lifting and feeding himself.

The infection that spread to his brain is still there but has lessened significantly, and his doctors say they hope to reattach his skull flap – removed to alleviate pressure on his brain – in a few months.

Once that happens, Bonny says her son will head to rehab to continue working on his recovery.  

A benefit in support of Brad’s continued recovery has been planned for March 10 at the Melvern Square Community Centre, and his mom and Kerr say donations have continued pouring into the online fundraising page.

They say the support has surprised everyone, including Brad, and has been a welcome beacon of light during this dark time for the family.

“We’ve been hearing from so many people. The support helps lift Brad’s spirits, but it helps all of us, too – we’re blown away,” says Kerr.

Sara.Ericsson@kingscountynews.ca

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