Successful businessman Roger Lampen was fit, healthy and ready for anything when he embarked on a cycling tour in 2007 through the Himalayas. The tour was Roger’s biggest adventure ever – until his life was changed forever by a stroke.
Founder of the Lampen Group, Roger has had an extensive career in the staff recruitment sector, and was a keen cyclist outside of work. Roger says he had no idea there was anything wrong until the day the stroke occurred.
“It was totally out of the blue. I was in my sixties and leading an extremely active lifestyle – my passion has always been cycle touring and I had toured in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
“My stroke happened while I was in the middle of the Himalayas – completely isolated from civilisation. I ended up in a military hospital in Tibet, in one of the most inhospitable regions of the world.
“I had no idea I was at risk of stroke. Looking back now, I realise that my stroke may well have been preventable. I hadn’t known anything about the dangers or the early signs, so there were many signs I missed.”
Roger’s stroke was partially linked to high blood pressure, which is a major cause of strokes.
“Strokes are New Zealand’s third largest killer, after heart disease and cancer, but countless people are unaware of what a stroke actually is and what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of suffering one,” he says.
Roger had to go through the massive mental and physical challenge of going from an apparently healthy cyclist to being debilitated by stroke. But he has rehabilitated himself through his determination to get better.
“There are constant daily challenges to be faced during the journey of stroke recovery. But it is vital for stroke survivors to believe in themselves and that they can drive the improvement.”
Roger has written a book telling his compelling story called It’s All in the Mind. He also wants Kiwis to become more stroke aware. About 8000 strokes occur in New Zealand each year, and stroke is our leading cause of disability.