A Rossendale stroke survivor is preparing to tackle the Kendal Triathlon Sprint on 27 September to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association, just one year after having a stroke.
IT worker and father of two, Paul Medcalfe, 42 from Crawshawbooth, had a stroke in June 2014. He was on an early morning run while working away in London, when his balance was affected and he collapsed.
The stroke affected Paul’s right hand side and he was initially unable to walk. Determined to get back on the road to recovery, he underwent intensive physiotherapy. While he has been left with mild aphasia (a condition affecting a person’s communication) and damage to his nervous system, Paul has started to regain his mobility.
Having previously completed various triathlons, including Olympic length distances, Paul was inspired to sign up for the triathlon to prove just how far he has come in his recovery. He has chosen to raise funds for the Stroke Association after the charity’s local Information, Advice and Support Service supported him as he began to rebuild his life and come to terms with a life after stroke.
The triathlon at Kendal Leisure Centre will include a 400m swim, 18km bike ride and 5km run. To prepare for the challenge, Paul has joined Rossendale Triathlon Club, where he regularly trains.
Paul said: "Luckily I was fit before my stroke, which seems to have played a part in my recovery. Afterwards I just wanted to return to doing the things I loved and was keen to set goals for myself. Taking part in the Kendal Triathlon Sprint will mark an important milestone in my continuing recovery. I’m working hard to continue making progress and the support I’ve had from my family and friends has been fantastic. My two sons, Harry and Ben, have also been helping me throughout my training!”
He added: “I didn’t realise that stroke can affect people of any age and I’m keen to raise awareness so that more people understand the condition. The Stroke Association has been a lifeline and has given me lots of encouragement so that I can enjoy life after stroke. I hope that by supporting them, other families can get the help I was lucky enough to have received.”
Siân Thomas, Regional Fundraiser at the Stroke Association, added: “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 who can raise funds for people affected by stroke. We’re incredibly grateful to Paul for taking on this gruelling challenge; he is a real inspiration and proof that there is life after stroke.”
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