A stroke survivor from Belper is marking a milestone in her recovery and weight loss journey, by taking on the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run on Sunday 26 February at Markeaton Park, Derby.
A former primary school head teacher, Jo Gotheridge had a stroke in 2013, aged just 38. During a weekend in February, Jo started to feel unwell but continued as normal, even going to work on Monday. She felt weakness in one side but as her speech wasn’t affected, didn’t suspect a stroke. After her symptoms worsened, she found she couldn’t spell the word ‘and’ or walk up the stairs, and drove herself to her GP.
Jo said: “I believe my GP’s quick actions saved my life. She sent me straight to Royal Derby Hospital and after several tests and scans, I was told I’d had a stroke. I thought my world had ended.”
Jo was in hospital for around three days but began the long road to recovery when she returned home. She added: “I’ve never felt tiredness like it. I couldn’t tie my shoelaces, load the dishwasher or even walk 100 yards.”
Jo tried to go back to work on a phased return but began to feel unwell again, and for her health decided to give up work. Jo wanted to focus on being a mum to her daughter Emma, now 13.
She said: “When I was working I was overweight but most days wouldn’t eat from 7am to 7pm. I was a workaholic and was even checking my emails when I was in hospital. After I resigned I wanted to get my life back! I began to exercise and joined Slimming World. I’ve now lost four and a half stone and go to the gym four times a week. I didn’t know the cause of my stroke and it was this fact that led me to make the life-changing decisions to change my work life balance, lose weight and develop a surprising love for exercise. I’m determined not to go back to how I was.”
Jo is taking part in the Stroke Association’s 5km Resolution Run at Markeaton Park alongside her daughter Emma, marking a milestone in her journey after stroke and raising vital funds for the charity.
Jo adds: “I’ve now set up my own business teaching and tutoring two days a week, so I’m still doing what I love. As strange as it sounds, my stroke is the best thing to have ever happened to me as otherwise I would never have stopped. We’ve gone through a lot to get to this point but I’ve changed my life beyond recognition. I’ve chosen to take part in the Resolution Run and raise funds for the Stroke Association to helps others affected by stroke to get the support they need.”
Alexa Wigfield, Community and Events Fundraiser at the Stroke Association, said: “With around 152,000 strokes a year in the UK – that’s around one every three and a half minutes - it is vital that we have people like our Resolution Runners to raise funds and help us conquer stroke. We’re thrilled Jo and her daughter Emma are taking part. We’re looking forward to cheering them on alongside our other participants as they make their 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 and exercising more. The money raised will help the charity fund vital research, support people affected and prevent stroke.”
Entry fee is just £15. All runners receive a technical running t-shirt and medal. For more information about entering or volunteering at the Resolution Run, visit www.stroke.org.uk/resolution, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 330 0740.