Golden anniversary – eight years after Eddie defied odds
PUBLISHED: 10:28 24 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:28 24 March 2019
Eddie Pleban was given just 48 hours to live after suffering a stroke while travelling on a plane home from Australia.
Thousands of feet above the ground and four hours away from the nearest hospital, his body began to shut down in the middle of the night.
Aged 61 at the time, he was eventually transferred to a hospital in Dubai and put into a drug-induced coma.
His family were told he only had days to live.
But eight years on and Mr Pleban, of Colman Road in Norwich, has defied all the odds.
And now he has celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Jeannie, who has supported him throughout his recovery.
Mr Pleban, 69, said: “Jeannie has supported me all the way and still does. I don’t think I could be where I am now without her and the children.
“She is extremely important to me.”
The former head of housing for YMCA Norfolk suffered his stroke in February 2011 as a result of an undiagnosed heart condition.
He spent several days in intensive care in Dubai before being transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by Learjet.
After eight months in hospital Mr Pleban was finally discharged in September that year, in a wheelchair.
He said: “I often say that in a lot of ways my stroke did me a lot of favours. It gave me a new zest for life. I make the most of every day and I am a great believer in living for the moment, because just like that your life can change forever.”
Just months after leaving hospital, Mr Pleban was chosen as an Olympic torchbearer. And in 2013 he climbed Mam Tor in Derbyshire.
The grandfather-of-seven has also since returned to Australia multiple times to visit his daughter and grandchildren.
He now works as a co-ordinator for the charity Different Strokes.
Mr Pleban first met his wife while ice skating with his mum and dad. “I saw Jeannie and that was it,” he said. “We were engaged three weeks later and married a year after that.”
The couple, who have four children, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 7, 2018, surrounded by family and friends.
Do you have an inspirational story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org