Belfast boxer takes first steps in more than two years following stroke which left him in wheelchair

It is a day Stephen McMullan will never forget - the day he walked again.

For the first time in more than two years, the north Belfast boxer took his first steps after being wheelchair bound following a stroke in May 2021.

Stephen, 27, was taken to hospital after a fight in the Ulster Hall. It was discovered that he had had a stroke, leaving him unable to talk and unable to walk. Five weeks in intensive care, more time spent in a stroke ward as well as a brain injury unit followed.

Now, speaking to UTV days after the miraculous moment, he said he broke down in tears when he realised what he'd achieved.

"It has been really hard - emotional, but physically I know I can," he said.

"Yes, I need help to do some things but practice makes perfect.

"I was over the moon. I just put my head on my sister's chest and just cried. It gives me the motivation to push on and strive for more."

Stephen spoke to UTV in the bedroom where most of his life revolves around. He lives with his mum and partner, Aimee.

Although appreciative, the conditions, he said, aren't ideal for allowing him to grow as a man and start a family with Aimee.

A Housing Executive spokesperson told UTV that it is working with Stephen to find a suitable home.

"Due to their circumstances, this applicant requires ground floor, two-bedroomaccommodation with wheelchair access.

"A high level of housing points have already been applied, however the applicanthas asked to be housed in an area of high housing demand and low housingturnover.

"This particular case is being handled by our Housing Support Team, whichmanages those with specific re-housing needs.

"If a suitable property within our current housing stock becomes available in theirareas of choice then this applicant will be considered for the property.

"Potential housing developments within the areas of choice stipulated by theapplicant are planned and we will ask for him to be considered by the housingassociations delivering these developments."

A fundraising auction is set to take place in April where boxing gloves from Irish boxer Katie Taylor as well as Carl Frampton will be up for grabs.

Stephen said he wanted to use the event to give back to the people who had helped him in his recovery.

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