Chris O’Brien, 32, from Alcester, is taking on the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run on Sunday 25 February, less than six months after a life-changing stroke.
Chris, a father of one, was at home in October 2017 when he lost his sight briefly and felt a sharp pain in his head, before vomiting and feeling disorientated.
Chris said: “There were no classic stroke symptoms, so I didn’t think too much of it and didn’t do anything to begin with. Three days later, I was still feeling unwell so I went to my GP who suspected I might have had a stroke. I was sent to Warwick Hospital where I had a CT scan, which confirmed my worst fears.”
Chris’s stroke has affected his sight and speech, and also left him with memory problems as well as severe fatigue. However, Chris has since returned to his role as a Funeral Director for Hemming and Peace in Alcester.
Chris added: “I struggle to find the right words and often get them jumbled up. It’s so frustrating but I’m determined not to let it beat me. For me, it’s all about a positive attitude and I’m not going to let my stroke hold me back.”
Chris is taking on the Stroke Association’s 5km Resolution Run at Arrow Valley Country Park, Redditch, on Sunday 25 February to raise vital funds for the charity. He’ll be joined by his 15 year old son Lennon, who will take part in the 15km run.
Chris said: “I’m walking a lot more with my dog Benji and trying to build up my strength and stamina in the lead up to the event. On the day, I’ll be taking on the Resolution Run at a jog or walking pace. I want to inspire other stroke survivors to pick themselves up and not let the condition defeat them.
“My son Lennon is supporting me by taking on the 15km run. He also wants to turn a negative into a positive. We both want to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association, to help other families affected by stroke to get the support they need.”
Claire Weaver, Community and Events Fundraiser at the Stroke Association, said: “A Resolution Run is exactly that – a resolution for the New Year that counts. It's the ideal event for people who want to do something fun together, while getting more active in 2018.
“Every five minutes in the UK, someone’s life is turned upside down by stroke. By signing up to a Resolution Run, each runner will help us do so much more to support stroke survivors and their families as they rebuild their lives. We’re thrilled Chris is taking part. We’re looking forward to cheering him on alongside our other participants as he makes his way through the park.”
At least half of strokes could be prevented if people made simple lifestyle changes, such as keeping blood pressure under control, eating healthily and taking regular exercise. The money raised through the Resolution Runs will help the Stroke Association to fund vital research and support people affected by stroke in the West Midlands.
Entry fee is just £16. All runners receive a technical running t-shirt and medal. For more information about entering or volunteering at the Resolution Run, visit http://www.stroke.org.uk/resolution, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 330 0740.