Stroke survivor Laura Caughey, from Banbridge, is taking on 13 miles at Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s 70th Anniversary Mourne Way Challenge Walk this June.
Laura was just 31 when she suffered a stroke on February 1, 2013, and the mother of three holds the stroke charity close to her heart.
She said: “I decided to take part in the Mourne Way Challenge Walk because NICHS is a charity which is very close to my heart. 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. 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 remains upbeat. “I was lucky – my husband Alan recognised that it was a stroke right away,” she said. “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.
“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.
“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 the Mourne Way Challenge Walk on Saturday 11th June, sign up at www.nichs.org.uk/MourneWay.
For details contact Órla Clarke on 028 9032 0184.