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Investing in new technology

The Helen Hick Stroke Foundation has partnered with medical innovators, Pockit Diagnostics, who have created a LVO blood test that allows a faster and more accurate stroke diagnosis.



When Helen Hick suffered two major strokes in 2019, she and her family soon realised how minimal the support was for those in similar situations. The Hicks were intent on preventing others from undergoing the same fate that Helen endured, who felt the help she received was targeted at older generation. After watching his wife’s health deteriorate and feeling like he wasn’t able to help, Helen’s husband Karl worked alongside Helen to establish The Helen Hick Stroke Foundation, as a way of providing a support network for younger stroke survivors or their family members.


Strokes are the second leading cause of death worldwide, and 14 million people each year are affected by them. According to the World Stroke Organisation, one in four adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime globally, and 6.5 million will die as a result. The most dangerous type of stroke is the Large Vessel Occlusion (LVO) caused by a clot that forms in a large vessel. Time is vital to the survival of a stroke sufferer, and LVOs must be detected and treated rapidly to increase the chances of recovery.


Currently, detection of a stroke can be slow, as the patient must undergo inter-hospital transfers for a diagnosis. It is only then that the sufferer can receive essential treatment that could save their life or prevent debilitating disabilities. Strokes can cause weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, visual problems, and language and communication complications. Quicker detection and swifter treatment could mean a 20% reduction in disabilities that stem from LVO strokes.


The Helen Hick Stroke Foundation has now invested in Cambridge-based Pockit Diagnostics to support their development of an innovative medical solution with a shared aspiration in mind: delivering faster, better care to patients. The young group of entrepreneurs at Pockit Diagnostics have created a faster and more accurate stroke diagnosis that will in turn help clinicians save lives and reduce the chance of ill health after a stroke.


The cutting-edge team consists of entrepreneurs, scientists, neurosurgeons and doctors who are conducting clinical trials on a new technology that will give paramedics the ability to identify LVO stroke cases instantly, so that patients can be directly taken to a stroke centre for treatment.


Pockit Diagnostics’ work is cutting edge and their breakthroughs could be a lifeline for people like Helen who sadly faced a great extent of trauma following her strokes.

Karl Hick, CEO of Phoenix Group, Co-Founder of The Helen Hick Stroke Foundation and devoted husband to Helen speaks of how important research and studies for quicker detection are: “Our charity continues to support Pockit Diagnostics as it works towards an early, accurate diagnosis which ensures the correct course of action for a stroke is prescribed and implemented as quickly as possible. This swift detection forms the vital fundaments for recovery and after what my wife has been through, is reassuring to know that a stroke detector will benefit many sufferers in the future.”


Helen Hick, stroke survivor, Director at Phoenix Group and stroke charity Co-Founder added: “If I can prevent even one person going through the same trauma of a stroke that I went through, I will be very happy. I have faith that by collaborating with Pockit Diagnostics, this hope of mine will be achievable.”


Gonzalo Ladreda, CEO of Pockit Diagnostics said: “This collaboration shows the commitment of the Helen Hick Stroke Foundation and Pockit to fight strokes in our country.”


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