Locked-in syndrome sufferer speaks of his zest for life

A 34-year-old man with locked-in syndrome has described his passion to live, despite his debilitating illness.

Bram Harrison is unable to move, except for his eyes.

Several years ago a doctor asked him what they should do if, for whatever reason, his heart stopped. His response was that he wanted to live, just as he wants to live now.


At the age of 20 Mr Harrison was involved in a cycling accident. He was not wearing a helmet and fractured his skull, damaging his brain.

He was left paralysed and unable to speak and the only part of his body he can deliberately move are his eyes and his eye-lids.


Yet his mind remains active.

He said: “In the early days two nurses that I overheard talking said that I would not last long and that I would kill myself, but I knew that would never happen.”

And Mr Harrison has also commented: “I don’t want people to think that locked-in syndrome is unbearable. I enjoy my rather limited life.”


A considerable amount of his life is conducted via a complex computer system with four built-in infra-red cameras.

He chooses letters and words by blinking at them on the screen, which the computer translates into written and spoken words.

There have been many low points over the years but Mr Harrison says he has never felt hopeless.


He loves seeing his family, especially his three nephews, and enjoys film and sport.

Inspired by one of his carers, he is now learning Polish. And he has a radio show on a local station.

Mr Harrison also has a website, eyelife.org, where he describes his life with locked-in syndrome.

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