Alice Comben, 31, from Ditton, is taking on the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run on Sunday 25 March, after her 18-month-old daughter had a stroke.
In August 2017, Alice and Phil Comben’s daughter Bethany, was rushed to hospital after she became unresponsive.
Alice said: “Thinking back to what happened sends shivers down my spine.I couldn’t believe that we were being told that our happy and healthy 13 month old daughter had had a stroke.
“Doctors think that Bethany’s stroke was caused from a heart infection, but we’re still not certain. Just over two weeks later, she went on to have another stroke, and before operating on her, doctors told us if they didn’t operate we could expect the worse news. If they did operate though, we were told Bethany could be paralysed down the left side of her body, and that she would probably need a lot of on-going support.
“Thankfully, Bethany wasn’t left completely paralysed, but she does have significant weakness on her left-hand side. When we came home from the hospital, we realised just how weak Bethany was. She couldn’t even sit up anymore. It was so hard to watch, we were completely heartbroken and wished we could do more to help her.
“Thankfully just four months on, Bethany is now sitting up all by herself and trying to move around in her own way! We’re so relieved, and realise that she’s got a lot of fight and determination in her. We know that we still have a long way to go, however our wonderful family and friends will support us. After everything Bethany has been through, we just wanted to see her happy again. She’s always smiling and such a joy to be around, we love her to pieces!
“Nobody can believe Bethany has had a stroke. We get the same shocked face each time we tell somebody that Bethany is a stroke survivor. That’s why I’m really keen to help raise awareness of childhood stroke. We’re so thankful to have had support from Evelina London Children’s Hospital and the Stroke Association’s Childhood Stroke Project. The Stroke Association were there for us at the hospital and helped us with information, advice and support.
“By taking part in this run, we’re saying a big thank you to everyone who helped Bethany. I know it’s going to be emotional for me, but I’ll be so proud when I get to the finish line. My sister Emily will be with me on the run, and Phil, Bethany and my parents will be cheering us on from the crowd.”
Becky Beard, Community and Events Fundraising Manager 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 in Kent 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 Alice is taking part. We’re looking forward to joining Bethany in cheering on her amazing Mum.”
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 Run in Kent will help the Stroke Association to fund vital research and support people affected by stroke in the South East.
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.