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Man with Locked-in Syndrome writes 50000-word book with just eye movements: 'It was cathartic'

With his entire body paralyzed, this man communicated just with his eyes and now has written an entire book in 18 months.

Man with Locked-in Syndrome writes 50000-word book with just eye movements: 'It was cathartic'
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @howard_wicks

Some people are proof that physical disability is never an excuse to achieve something in life. Even if their health condition had made them less advantageous than others, they try every possible way to make their mark in this world. One such inspiring story recently came from Dartmouth, a town in Devon County, England. Howard Wicks, who was completely paralyzed as a teenager, has authored a 50000-word book in 18 months. Though he did not have the help of his hands to pen down his book, an eye-driven communicative device came to his aid, per BBC

Representative Image Source: Pexels | TAlha Riaz
Representative Image Source: Pexels | TAlha Riaz

During Halloween 2011, Wicks, who was a teenager, suffered the biggest nightmare of his life. At such a young age, he succumbed to a massive stroke, which left him completely paralyzed with no muscle movements in any part of his body, as per a 2013 BBC Spotlight TV program. Doctors diagnosed him with Locked-In Syndrome, but soon, with his parents' motivation, Wicks was able to make a little progress. He slowly learned to communicate through his eyes and with the Eyegaze technology in his aid, his interactions improved further. As a paralyzed teen, Wicks was determined to tell his life story through the written word to inspire people who were like him.

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A post shared by Howard Wicks (@howard_wicks)


This June, 29-year-old Wicks accomplished his objective and wrote a book with 50,000 words. His novel was a recollection of the first four years of his life after the stroke and how the rare neurological disorder "has profoundly impacted" his life. As per Wicks, the impossibility of communicating and performing everyday activities was "the most agonizing and frustrating aspect" of his condition. He attributed his Eyegaze computer to making his life easier as a paralyzed person. The device tracked his eye movements and a voice rendered the words he wanted to communicate. With this technology, Wicks took 18 months to finish his book. Sharing his "author" photos, Wicks wrote on Instagram, "Facing the depths of Adversity" and announced that his book will be out in July.

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A post shared by Howard Wicks (@howard_wicks)


"It was a cathartic experience. I enjoyed writing it, especially the parts I personally enjoyed living myself. However, it soon became a source of stress, as I felt I couldn't truly enjoy myself until the book was completed," Wicks told the Kingsbridge and Salcombe Gazette about his experience as an author. So, what is the core idea of this book? It's all about Wicks's transition. "The initial chapter introduces the reader to my life before the stroke, allowing them to understand who I was. The book concludes with my transition from the hospital setting to community life. The series spans from age 16 to the present day," Wicks explained to the outlet.

The 29-year-old hopes his novel will be the first part of a trilogy. Also, Wicks's novel is expected to raise awareness for his charity, "Locked In Trust," which supports and uplifts other people suffering from Locked-In Syndrome. This charity organization aims to help individuals "embrace the fullest potential of their lives." Wicks added, "I believed that finishing it (the book) was essential for my happiness and personal progress."

You can follow Howard Wicks (@howard_wicks) on Instagram for more updates on his book and life.

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