A local resident from Hornchurch has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association in recognition of her fundraising achievement for the charity.
Nichola Schubert-Cornhill, 33, was inspired to begin fundraising for the Stroke Association after her younger brother, Mark, had a stroke in 2011. Nichola, along with family and friends, has to date raised over £14,000 for the charity.
Nichola said: “In 2011, just four weeks after Mark's 18th birthday, he had a devastating stroke. Something that we never thought could happen to someone so young who was fit and healthy. We now of course realise a stroke can happen to anyone at any time.
“Mark’s stroke was so severe that it resulted in locked-in syndrome. However Mark fought bravely and slowly began to gain movement back. He started to make a great deal of progress and his personality was beginning to shine through again. Sadly Mark’s health deteriorated and after a long fight he passed away just nine months later.
“As a family we’re constantly raising awareness of stroke. Far too many people still don’t seem to realise that a stroke can happen at any age. Mark was a fit and healthy 18-year-old and I never could have imagined something like this happening to him. After Mark passed away friends and family reached out to us wanting to do something to make a difference and this is when ‘Team Mark’ was created. As team, whilst raising vital funds for the Stroke Association, we always try to get the message home that strokes really do happen to anyone, and just how important it is for people to act FAST if they spot any stroke symptoms.”
Nichola is continuing her fundraising this year and is preparing to take on the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 14 April 2019. Nichola added: “I wanted to challenge myself further this year and doing something I never would have done. I know that running this marathon would have been something Mark would find hilarious! It has been tough pounding the streets over the winter months in training, but I have had lots of encouragement from family and friends, which has really helped me keep motivated.
“I keep coming back to the fact that a few achy joints is nothing compared to what many stroke survivors have to go through, and I am sure that thought and Mark will help keep me going when the going gets tough on the big day.”
The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Award was presented to Nichola at a ceremony at the Ambassador Bloomsbury Hotel on Sunday 17 February 2019.
Nichola was nominated for the Fundraising Award by Tara Galloway, Head of Stroke Support for the Stroke Association. Tara said: “Nichola and Team Mark have been absolutely incredible. When Mark sadly passed away Nichola saw it as a chance to do something really positive in his memory and to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association to help others. Having lost her brother to a stroke at such a young age, stroke has certainly changed not only Nichola’s life but the rest of her family’s.
“Nichola has been a fundraising superstar. She throws herself into challenges and constantly pushes herself. I wanted to nominate Nichola for the Fundraiser of the Year Award in recognition of the personal commitment she made to the Stroke Association to support people affected by stroke.”
The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards 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.
To find out more about the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards, please visit www.stroke.org.uk/LASA.