Stroke recovery through neuro-physiotherapy


Project by Karl Svarc

Stroke recovery through neuro-physiotherapy

Total raised £338

£5,000 target 4 days left
6% 11 supporters

Raising funds for neuro-physiotherapy for musician Karl Svarc, a case study highlighting the need for access to affordable rehabilitation.


Karl is a retired professional guitarist. Since his stroke he has restarted performing and teaching guitar adaptively with one working hand. Karl is a very active member of his community, he runs a performance group and has many musical ambitions. He first started playing guitar in a band when he was 16 years old. Soon after, he started teaching guitar and became a guitar technician through a music shop in his early 20s. He also taught music therapy at a Steiner School for a few years. 

He formed his own band in the 90s, gigging regularly around his private teaching practice and guitar repairs. Karl and his wife moved to Cornwall around 2012/2013. When his wife died of cancer 2 years later, he stopped being a guitar technician and reduced his students and solo gigs. About 1 & 1/2 years later, as he was rebuilding his student base and performing again, he had his stroke.



My stroke has left me with speech, language and memory difficulties meaning that I find it difficult to control the muscles on the right side of my face,  to form the shapes I need to make words. I can, for the most part now be understood but it is variable. I also have some memory issues and my capacity to look at something and then copy it has been reduced so that I find performing new actions confusing and difficult to do. While it looks like I understand everything that is going on, when I feel under pressure such as at appointments etc, I’m unable to communicate what happened afterwards so I always have someone with me.

I also have right side weakness in my limbs, and associated issues that come with non use. This means that I can walk aided but I can't bend my leg very well and catch my toes on the ground when I walk. My arm especially will shake uncontrollably and has a lot of tone in it. This makes my whole right side painful and my arm twists in. My carer helps me with many aspects of my life, and supports me to go out and socialise whenever I feel able.

I also experience fatigue and depression. I have depression regularly and have sometimes wished I wasn’t here anymore. I try to follow a more Buddhist approach to life but am not able to meditate right now, the way I used to before my stroke. It feels like everything builds up in my head until it all goes bang and I can't function anymore. I have adapted to playing guitar one handed as far as I can, because it is who I am, my life’s work. The tone and spasticity in my arm can prevent me from being able to play. This is painful as music is how I express myself and keep my mental balance and spiritual wellbeing.

Intensive physiotherapy is really helping me to turn my life around again. I can get my arm over my guitar much more easily and I believe I will be playing the guitar with both hands again in a year or so. The physiotherapy is giving me renewed hope in my future.


For people living with the long term health impacts of stroke, access to specialist, physiotherapist-led rehabilitation is either not available where they live, or it is unaffordable. The consequence is that people with long term neurological conditions are not able to access expert help and an appropriate intensity of rehabilitation.

This can have a devastating physical as well as mental impact, affecting independence and quality of life as well as leading to greater healthcare and wider societal costs. We are setting up a Community Interest Company called Seraphina's Hope C.I.C to safeguard extra stretch funding, with which we hope to support others to access neuro physiotherapy or set up a service for group neuro rehabilitations services that can then be offered at an affordable price through membership. This will be achieved in consultation with Chartered neuro physiotherapists who we have connected with during Karl’s stroke recovery journey.

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This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£20 or more

1 of 8 claimed

Mindfulness and Music Tuition

1 hour mindfulness and music tuition with Karl and Seraphina. Gain a greater understanding of music and learn to play guitar and/or keyboard. See how they fit together with natural harmony and composition. Writing and soundscapes can also be explored.

£40 or more

1 of 10 claimed

CD Bundle

All CDs of Karl Svarc which total 5, that span his musical career.

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