Shoreditch resident Jessica Knowles, 27, is taking on the Bupa Great North Run on Sunday 7 September to raise funds for the Stroke Association, after her father, Keith, had a stroke earlier this year. Jess will return to her birth town of South Shields as she takes on the same 13.1 mile race as her father did, three decades ago.
Keith had a stroke on 15 April 2014 at the age of 57. He had been loading the car boot when he collapsed in the street. Luckily a passer-by saw the incident, and recognising it as an emergency, called an ambulance.
Jess said: “Dad’s stroke was such a shock to the whole family. He was fit, healthy and relatively young – it just goes to show that stroke can affect anyone. I’ve set myself a fundraising target of £500 to help fund the amazing work the Stroke Association does for people like my dad.”
Keith is still receiving treatment in hospital, where he is learning to walk and talk again.
Jess said: “Dad’s due to be discharged from hospital the weekend of the Great North Run. He still has some mobility issues and difficulty with his speech, but I’d love for him to come up to Newcastle and see me in the race he ran 30 years ago, as he’s my inspiration for doing it. I’ve never ran a half marathon before, and I always said it would be the Great North Run if I did; it has such a personal connection for me.”
Janet Price, Regional Fundraiser at the Stroke Association said: “There are 152,000 strokes every year in the UK – that’s one every three and a half minutes. As a charity, we rely on the support of people like Jess, so we can continue to make a real difference to the lives of stroke survivors and their families. We’ll be cheering Jess on as she makes her way to the finish line.”
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