70 year old stroke survivor Leonard du Pisanie from Peterborough will be taking the plunge on Saturday 18 October, by skydiving for the Stroke Association, a charity that helped him after his stroke.
Leonard, who was an educational physiologist and former teacher, led a very active life before his stroke, taking part in endurance races, hiking, cycling and kayaking. Leonard was happy to cross another activity off his bucket list, when the Stroke Association offered him a chance to take part in a local skydive.
In May 2013 Leonard was at home watching TV when his wife noticed that Leonard had a crooked smile. When she tried to talk to Leonard she realised that he couldn’t speak, and that’s when she knew something was very wrong, and that Leonard needed help fast.
Leonard had had a stroke and was left with right side paralysis, and severe communication difficulties. Leonard was discharged from hospital after 3 weeks and through sheer determination, he continued to work hard on his physiotherapy and communication. Leonard is now back to running, and sings in the local church choir, is part of a research project involving stroke patients, and meets with the local Stroke Association communication coordinator and a speech therapist each week.
Local Communication Support Coordinator from the Stroke Association in Peterborough, Hannah Longlands, organised the sky dive when Leonard told her that one thing he wanted to achieve in his lifetime was a sky dive. Hannah adds, “When Leonard told me at our Information Café stroke group that he’d love to do a sky dive, I couldn’t resist but help this wish come true. I’ve rallied in a bunch of other supporters to join Leonard on the day and dubbed us the Sky Screamers team! The Stroke Association knows the huge impact a stroke can have on someone’s life, and that’s why we want to help raise vital funds so we can continue to be there for stroke survivors and their families. About one third of stroke survivors have difficulty with reading, writing and speaking, and it can be frightening and frustrating. I help stroke survivors in Peterborough improve their communication skills, to adjust to life after stroke, and to help them in making positive steps in their recovery. The Stroke Association supports stroke survivors and their families and carers across the county, because together we can conquer stroke.”
If you would like to sponsor Leonard’s sky dive, you can visit: www.justgiving.com/skyscreamers
For more information about Hannah’s support groups, please contact Hannah Longlands on 01572 812 078
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 together we can conquer 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 www.stroke.org.uk