A DJ is preparing to make a return to the turntables in the world’s biggest music-mixing competition after battling back from meningitis.
Steve Walker, from Hartlepool, says he is lucky to be alive after he was struck down by the killer disease six years ago.
Steve, 42, spent four days unable to move in bed before making it to hospital where doctors diagnosed him with suspected meningitis.
He developed a swelling of the brain which causes him crippling pains and short-term memory loss.
Despite a daily battle with the debilitating condition, Steve is getting ready to get behind the turntable for the first time in years by entering the DMC World Online DJ Championships, which started this week.
DJs from around the globe upload videos of themselves behind the decks in the hope of attracting votes.
In the summer, the most popular will then be invited to perform in various live heats.
Steve, who says he will spend the next few weeks practising before finalising his entry video, will also use the opportunity to raise awareness of the disease by supporting the charity Meningitis UK.
He said: “I know I am lucky to be alive.
“I know that although I have been left with headaches and after-effects, that it could have been so much worse.
“Now I want to do something really positive to help people to understand meningitis and its affects – because it is a very misunderstood disease.
“I know things won’t change now - I have good days and bad days, but you just have to go on.”
Steve, known as DJ Maestro, got the confidence to get back into DJing after meeting the Beat Freekz DJ crew from Blackpool while watching last year’s heat.
He added: “I want to do something fun and worthwhile to help spread the message and support a great cause, and hopefully my love of music and my talent can make a difference.”
Steve has been in and out of hospital over the last six years.
But this week, brain scans following a suspected stroke came back clear.
Twenty one years ago the stepdad of two, who lives with his partner in the town centre area, reached the UK finals of the competition.
His entry has been boosted by being given £1,500 of new music equipment by the competition sponsors Spin Rane and Serato.
In Steve’s set, he plays anything from 1970s funk all the way through to house and drum and bass.
“I used to do the pubs and clubs, but I’ve had quite a rough time over the last few years so I don’t do that anymore. I still enjoy it though, and I’m not going into this competition to lose,” he added.
Kate Rowland, chief executive of Meningitis UK, said: “We have been completely inspired by Steve’s positivity and determination to help us raise awareness of meningitis.
“Steve has bravely learned to adapt his life and work around his memory impairments.
“This is not the case with everyone who contracts this disease and sadly we talk to families every day who have lost loved ones to this disease.”
Steve is raising money for Meningitis UK and has set up a web page where people can leave donations.
● To leave your donation, visit www.justgiving.com/steven-walker0