Skip to main content

14-year-old stroke survivor wins courage award

Press release   •   Jun 12, 2014 09:00 BST

Hannah Garrity, 14, from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, has won a Stroke Association Life After Stroke Award. She was presented with the charity’s Children and Young People’s award by TV presenters Sian Lloyd and Amanda Lamb on Wednesday 12 June. 

Hannah had a stroke in 2008 when she was eight years old. She was taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and after her condition deteriorated, Hannah’s family was told to prepare for the worst.

Hannah’s mother Sharon Garrity, said: “We never thought in a million years that Hannah could have a
stroke. She was a very active eight-year-old who won all her running races on sports day in school. Her stroke changed everything in the blink of an eye; it was like a nightmare. At one stage she was on life support in intensive care. Her recovery amazed the whole family; after six months of intensive rehabilitation Hannah was out of hospital. Her life has been one achievement after another since her stroke.”

Hannah said: “After my stroke I couldn’t talk or move at all. I was fed through a tube. I knew I was really ill, but I did the best I could to learn to walk again. It was really hard, but a few months later, I took my first steps. And then I thought: if I can learn to walk again in six months, what could I do in a year? You’ve got to pick yourself up, and keep reaching for the stars.”

Hannah is now a keen horse rider and has taken part in competitions in Northern Ireland and England. She has re-learnt how to swim and enjoys riding an adapted three-wheel bicycle.

The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards, sponsored by TONI&GUY Charitable Foundation,
recognise the courage shown by stroke survivors and carers as well as the great work and  commitment shown by health professionals, groups and supporter organisations.

Jon Barrick, Stroke Association Chief Executive, said: “Stroke is a condition often associated with
older people, yet it affects over 400 children and babies every year in the UK. The determination and effort Hannah has shown throughout her recovery have been extraordinary. This award recognises her victory over the life-changing effects of stroke.”

For more information on the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards and to view short films about the winners, including Hannah, visit


For further information, case studies, interviews and images please contact the Stroke Association’s media team on 020 7566 1500 or email

For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 07799 436 008. ISDN facilities available.

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.  
Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and we’re leading a community of people to change the world for people affected by stroke.  We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at