Having survived three near-death experiences that have left him unable to use the right side of his body, Manchester-based journalist Glendon Baker is encouraging others to prevent lifestyle illnesses by adopting early practices such as healthy diets, rest, water, exercise, and temperance in both work and leisure.
“Those elements will curtail tremendous situations like mine, and the earlier we start, the better,” he said, adding that not being able to drive has caused him to limit the running of his small business, and he is now dependent on others. Baker is recuperating after suffering two major strokes in 2018 and 2020, followed by a motor vehicle crash in 2021.
The journalist, who has worked as a correspondent for Radio Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, and programme host on NCU Radio and Television, once served as chairman of the Central Jamaica Chapter of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ).
“A lot of the individuals that I have worked with in the past have not even called,” Baker remarked during a recent visit by colleagues who brought him a gift made possible by former PAJ President Byron Buckley and journalists Rayon Dyer, Garfield Myers, Garfield Angus, and businesswoman Melva Morgan.
Stressing that health consciousness is a must for longevity, Baker recalled that sometime in 2018, he woke in the morning, and was unable to move, and “then realised that I was in the Kingston Public Hospital. I have no idea how I got there.”
After six weeks at the hospital he was released, and by the next six weeks he was restored to normal health.
“This time, I was very aware of it. I was up and about, went to my desk to write something, and was not able to. I crawled to the bathroom, and then my brother came and took me to the hospital. I was there for one day, but the second one (stroke) was more devastating,” Baker revealed.
For the past year he has had to be learning to write with his left hand which is “very challenging.” He said his sisters and brothers have stood by him, and while the sister, who was his caregiver, suffered a stroke, and is almost paralysed, a nephew of his, Donrick Baker, and his wife Michelle are “my real caregivers, right now,” Baker said.
Journalist Garfield Angus, who coordinated the recent visit by colleagues, said for many years Baker spent considerable time and effort to ensure that other people live happy lives, and “after a recent conversation with him, which lasted for over two hours, I was convinced that we needed to do this, and I am thankful that our colleagues and Miss Morgan played their part,” Angus noted.
Photojournalist Gregory Bennett said he “happily chipped in” because Baker was instrumental in him gaining employment with the Jamaica Observer, while Byron Buckley said, “It was a pleasure to link Glendon as it should not be only when journalists die colleagues remember them.”