Two stroke survivors find love despite living 130 miles apart

Two stroke survivors become an item despite living 130 miles apart after one was inspired by the other’s appearance on DIY SOS

  • Ellie Boakes fell in love with Scott Jones after being inspired by him on DY SOS
  • Ellie, 24, reached out to wheelchair bound, record breaking athlete Scott, 20,
  • The couple both suffered strokes but have fought hard to lead active lives

A young couple who are both battled for survival after suffering strokes have fallen in love – after one spotted the other on DIY SOS.

Ellie Boakes, 24, was told she would never walk again after a botched brain operation to treat her epilepsy left her with no feeling down her entire left-hand side.

Ellie was watching a re-run of DIY SOS when she became smitten with one of the lucky homeowners on the show – fellow stroke survivor Scott Jones, 20.

Despite being wheelchair bound Scott is a world record-breaking athlete  

Stroke survivor Ellie, who taught herself to walk, and even swim, again after a botched operation to treat her epilepsy, reached out to Scott on Twitter.

Ellie Boakes and Scott Jones found love from hundreds of miles apart – after one watched the other on DIY SOS. Ellie messaged Scott on Twitter to tell him he inspired her

Despite living in Hildenborough, Kent, 130 miles from Scott’s home in Cheltenham, Ellie took a chance.

‘I was amazed by his positivity and how well he had done,’ said Ellie.

‘I was gobsmacked. I thought, is this guy for real? I couldn’t believe how positive and strong he was.

‘I Googled his name just to see if I could find out more about him, and then his Twitter came up, so I dropped him a message on Twitter.

‘I was so excited when he actually wrote back,’ she added.

Ellie Boakes in hospital recovering from a stroke. Ellie was told she would never walk again but defied doctors 

Scott Jones (with DIY SOS’s Nick Knowles) has broken athletics records. Despite suffering a stroke he has competed in shotput competitions 

The couple first began speaking through Twitter on April 17 this year, and quickly began to talking on the phone for up to three hours every night.

On Sunday, after two months of daily phonecalls and video chats, Ellie and Scott met in person for the first time at his home.

Scott added that he is ‘very happy’ with Ellie, saying: ‘It’s definitely going the right way. It’s gone quite quickly, but it hasn’t been rushed.

‘I spend more time with Ellie now than I do with most of my friends. It definitely helps to have someone else who’s been in the same boat as me.’

Scott has been confined to a wheelchair since March 2010 when, at the age of just 12 years old, he suffered three strokes in one day.

The university student, who is in the middle of a sports degree at Hartpury College, said: ‘I was in and out of consciousness in hospital for about six months after that.

‘It hit me quite badly. I played rugby from a really young age, and I used to be a cross-country runner before my strokes.’

Scott was left wheelchair-bound with no function in his lower body – but was determined not to have to give up on sports.

Ellie who suffered a stroke during epilepsy surgery was watching a re-run of DIY SOS when she became smitten with one of the lucky homeowners on the show – fellow stroke survivor Scott Jones, 20

‘Sport was something I always wanted to get back into, but my PE teacher at school said I would probably never play again. I wanted to prove them wrong,’ he said.

In November 2010, just eight months after his strokes, Scott began trying to get back into sporting events.

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And in 2011, he broke his first world junior record in shotput, with an 11.5m throw.

He went on to compete internationally in shotput in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and also win the World Championships for indoor rowing in 2013.

And among all this, Scott got ten GCSEs, taking three of them a year early, and five A-Levels.

Scott Jones with his family, friends and the team from DIY SOS on the show that inspired his new girlfriend to get in touch 

Ellie Boakes, 24, was told she would never walk again after a botched brain operation to treat her epilepsy left her with no feeling down her entire left-hand side

Speaking of his stroke, Scott said: ‘The mental side of it was a lot worse than the physical side.

‘I don’t have that many friends that have had strokes, so it was definitely quite lonely.

‘That first message from Ellie read, ‘Hey, you’re an inspiration to me, keep positive’. I replied back straight away, because I don’t really get many messages from other stroke survivors.

‘Then we started talking a lot more,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Ellie was left paralysed down her entire left side after a brain operation in August 2016 to treat her lifelong epilepsy cut off the blood to her brain and she suffered a stroke during surgery.

Ellie, who is left-handed, lost her peripheral vision in her left eye, and her whole left side was affected.

‘At first I thought, well that’s the end of me,’ she said.

‘But then one day this positivity came over me and I thought, I’m not going to fix anything by sitting around crying. I wanted to prove them wrong that I could walk again.’

Ellie was only given six sessions of physiotherapy with the NHS, and after that was left to fund her own private physio sessions, costing her around £250 a week.

She has also had to buy all her own physiotherapy equipment, which she estimates has cost her around £4,000 over the last two years.

But with determination and the support of her parents, who gave up their jobs to help care for her, Ellie has been able to teach herself to walk independently, and even to swim, once again.

Ellie is now planning a holiday with boyfriend Scott in New York after the pair found love over the internet 

She has even managed to return to work part-time at Reynolds Retreat spa and health club in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she works two days a week as a receptionist.

Ellie said: ‘I’ve learnt so much about myself through this process. I didn’t know I could be this strong.

‘I was told I would never walk again, but I walked out of that hospital like Beyonce.’

And she added: ‘I’m so glad I’ve made Scott so positive, too. We’ve both been through quite a bad time mentally, we’ve both been really lonely going through this.

‘But we’ve been able to really help each other.’

The couple already have their first holiday booked together to go to New York at the end of the year. 

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