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Miracle man Jason Kenna ‘lucky to be alive’ and on the road to recovery after stroke

Boolavogue man, who is one of just two people to survive the type of stroke he experienced, has benefitted greatly from a well-supported GoFundMe campaign


Jason Kenna with his wife Lillian.

Jason Kenna with his wife Lillian.

Jason Kenna with his wife Lillian.


A father-of-two from Boolavogue who suffered a life-altering stroke when he was just 48 years of age was told by his doctors that he is only one of two people to survive the particular stroke he experienced.

A GoFundMe campaign is ongoing for Jason Kenna who got the stroke on October 26, 2018, when he was diagnosed with  having a Basilar Artery Occlusion resulting in a significant clot that caused a cerebellum stroke on both sides of his brain.

As a direct result of the stroke, Jason experienced further serious medical issues  and ended up in intensive care with his life very much hanging in the balance on two separate occasions.

It was a heart-breaking ordeal at the time for his wife, Lillian, and his sons, Ryan (19) and Roman (12), who prepared themselves for the worst.

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However, through a remarkable show of courage and determination Jason's condition has progressed to the point that he is now able to stand and can walk with the help of an aid, whereas for the majority of the time since the stroke he was confined to a wheelchair.

He still has a long road ahead of him but as Lillian pointed out “he is lucky to be alive”.

She said his progress has been a direct result of the GoFundMe campaign and the couple expressed sincere gratitude to everyone who has supported it to-date.

"A lot of his progress is thanks to the GoFundMe because it helped him get physio and speech therapy,” she said.

The money that was generated initially from the fund has gone on the costs associated with Jason’s ongoing treatments and rehabilitation needs and the fund is remaining open now to help get him “over the last hurdle”.

“I’m making good progress,” said Jason, who is determined to get back to work and both he and Lillian were full of praise for Boots, where Jason ordinarily works, as they want him to return to work.

He is hoping he will be in a position to do that sooner rather than later but he has a long road ahead before he is back to full health.

Only four per cent of people, on average, suffer the type of stroke Jason did and Lillian said his doctor told him that in all his years practicing Jason is only one of two people he ever saw survive it.

“Getting the funds to help get him over the last hurdle would be an enormous support to Jason," said Lillian.

The couple said they are indebted to Paula Bradley and Anne Dempsey for the support they’ve given Jason in terms of speech therapy and physiotherapy, respectively.

Over the last year in particular, Jason has made a lot of strides on the road to recovery but, as Lillian pointed out, a lot of that progress was down to being able to access supports because of the GoFundMe campaign and they want people to see the benefit of such fundraising.

Jason is able to use a walker now to get around and a cane, rather than the wheelchair, and while his recovery is long it’s also heading in the right direction.

“He’s able to go up and down the stairs now, with a bit of help, but he wasn’t able to do any of that before,” said Lillian. However, they both highlighted the fact that every week Jason's routine involves physio and speech therapy but it's all proving very beneficial.

"It was with the help of the GoFundMe that we were able to do that,” said Lillian.

They both highlighted the fact that chartered physio, Ann Dempsey, offered her support to Jason ‘pro bono’, however, they want to pay for the help he is receiving.

“We would like to pay her,” said Lillian. “Jason has potential and that’s why she is so supportive of him but we do want to be able to pay her.”

Overall, the ongoing goal for Jason is to get back to full health and be completely independent again and he has worked very hard to get himself along that road.

“His double vision has gone and he had a shake and that's gone and it’s all because of his constant rehabilitation,” said Lillian.

“It’s because of that all these things are improving,” she added.

“We were up with the cardiologist recently and the doctor said that in the 11 years he’s been a doctor Jason and another man are the only two people he’s ever met to survive that type of stroke."

"So for Jason to be where he is now is like a miracle," said Lillian.

“Most of those who get that stroke don't make it.”

Jason and Lillian are anxious to show people the benefit of fundraising campaigns and also highlight where the money went to-date.

“We just want to show people what a GoFundMe can do for you too because without it Jason wouldn’t be where he is now,” said Lillian.

“It’s really helped Jason get this far and if it wasn’t for GoFundMe he wouldn’t have been getting the level of help and support he needed or at least his recovery would have been much long," she added.

“He wouldn’t have progressed the way he has done without it.”

While his health is obviously heading in the right direction Jason still has a long way to go before he’s back to full health and anyone wishing to support him can do so through the ‘Help Jason Kenna's Rehabilitation’ GoFundMe page.