Stroke survivor, Laura Caughey from Banbridge is taking on 13 miles at Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s 70th Anniversary Mourne Way Challenge Walk this June.
Laura explained, “I decided to take part in the Mourne Way Challenge Walk because NICHS is a charity which is very close to my heart. I suffered a stroke on the 1st February 2013. I was just 31 years old and a wife and mother to three beautiful boys.”
Like anyone, Laura was shocked that stroke could ever happen to her, especially at such a young age, “What happened that day changed my life and who I am in more ways than words can describe.”
Laura suffered paralysis, vision impairment and memory loss. Thankfully, many of those symptoms resolved themselves after time however some did not and three years on, she still feel the effects of the stroke both physically and mentally.
Despite everything Laura has gone through, her perspective on life is inspirational, “I was lucky – my husband Alan recognised that it was stroke right away. I received TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) due to the speed at which I was taken to hospital and thanks to the ambulance team, nurses and consultants who looked after me.”
Laura went on to say, “For a while what happened – my stroke – defined me and consumed me and whilst I still feel the effects, I have learnt to embrace who I am now and lead a lifestyle that helps manage the risk of any potential future strokes. I am healthy and young, my stroke was caused by a heart defect but I still need to ensure that I am as healthy as possible to try to avoid it happening again – and it could – around 30% of stroke survivors will experience a recurrent stroke or TIA.*”
“Stroke no longer defines me but it took a long time before I truly felt that to be the case. I see the services that NICHS provides as an amazing benefit to the people of Northern Ireland and for that reason I want to support this charity to help people recognise the signs and symptoms of stroke, learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about the fact that stroke has no preference – it happens to people young and old!”
To join Laura in taking part in the Mourne Way Challenge Walk on Saturday 11th June, sign up for the 10km or 13 mile route at www.nichs.org.uk/MourneWay Registration costs £20 and all participants are encouraged to raise at least £50 to help fund local care and prevention services. For further information about the event, please contact Órla Clarke on 028 9032 0184 or firstname.lastname@example.org