Paul Flannery, 36 from Lincoln, is set to take part in the Stroke Association’s Step Out for Stroke fundraising walk at Central Park on Sunday 20 May, despite being told he would never walk again.
Step out for Stroke walks raise money for the Stroke Association to support stroke survivors and their families as they regain their independence. Stroke is a leading cause of disability and there are there are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the after effects. For stroke survivors who are taking part it’s also a celebration of their first steps towards overcoming the challenges of living with stroke and regaining their independence.
A keen runner and tug of war player, Paul had lost six stone and was preparing for competing at a national level, when he had a stroke in April 2016. When he was initially told he would struggle to walk again, he tried to stand in disbelief but fell straight to the floor. However, Paul was determined to leave hospital in time for his wife Liz’s birthday in May, and with the support of physiotherapists, he left using a walking stick weeks later. Paul was also supported by the Stroke Association in Lincolnshire throughout his recovery.
Paul said: “The Stroke Association’s Support Coordinator visited me at home and really listened to me; she helped to point me in the right direction and supported me to make realistic goals throughout my recovery.”
Paul took part in the Stroke Association’s Step Out for Stroke walk in 2017 to raise vital funds for the charity which supported him, and is planning to beat his time this year.
He added: “It took me 38 minutes to complete the walk the first time and I’m aiming to beat my time this year. I’ll have my wife Liz and six year old son Rhys walking alongside me on the day.”
Sally Darley, Stroke Association Support Coordinator, said: “Stroke strikes in an instant and is the leading cause of disability in the UK. It’s a real inspiration to see Paul taking on this walking challenge to raise vital funds to support other stroke survivors.
“Step out for Stroke is a fun walk that everyone can be part of, no matter what your age or fitness level. We’re inviting the whole community to come to this fun day out and help us make it an event to remember.”
Step out for Stroke walks take place across the UK from May to July 2018. Visit www.stroke.org.uk/stepoutto sign-up to an event near you.
Go Purple for Pounds this May and raise money to help the Stroke Association reach and support more stroke survivors on their journey to regain their independence. Visit www.stroke.org.uk/makemaypurple for more information.