My name is Louis Gustin, I’m 27 years old and I come from Metz.

I studied law for six years, obtaining degrees from Metz and Strasburg, followed by a one-year European Studies degree in Warsaw. Everything was fine, I was in very good health, but suddenly on 27 February 2015, when I was visiting Warsaw for a weekend, I had a stroke. I was only 24 years old.

From one day to the next, I was left aphasic, I could no longer move my right arm and my right leg didn’t work. After a year and a half of rehabilitation, and both physical and mental struggle – day in, day out – at the Belle-Isle Hospital in Metz, I recovered my independence.

I was “struck down” in mid-flight.

Since then, I have completed a six-month traineeship at the European Parliament in Brussels, in 2016-2017, before returning to the Parliament for a further five months in 2017.

I have had many opportunities to meet young people who, like me, have had their lives knocked off course by a stroke or other disability, and I am more determined than ever to get involved in policies to support people with disabilities in France and across the European Union.

Through this blog, my aims are: to raise awareness about the reality of living with disabilities, where all too often – if not always – our surroundings themselves are further disabling; and to persuade politicians, organisations, businesses, human beings to have faith in and trust people like me, who in spite of our disability, are still full of potential.

I am a member of France AVC Lorraine, a regional branch of the French association for stroke victims, France AVC. Within France AVC Lorraine, I am the deputy secretary and I also manage their Facebook communications.

I have been a member of Handicap International in Belgium since 2016 and I make videos for their events.

I also volunteer for CaféBabel, a news website, with writing on current policy developments, disabilities, culture, and much more.