Lizzie Treadwell, 23 from Swindon, is taking on the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run on Sunday 15 April after surviving a stroke at the age of 16.
Lizzie was brushing her teeth one day when she suddenly started to lose her vision. Lizzie said: “My parents had gone out for the day and I was getting ready to leave the house when all of a sudden I couldn’t see properly. I remember my left leg feeling strange and having the most painful headache. When I was still in pain four days later, my parents knew something wasn’t right. After visiting my GP, I was referred to Great Western Hospital where I had a CT scan on my brain. The CT scan revealed that I’d had a stroke – I just couldn’t believe it.”
Lizzie’s stroke was caused by a trapdoor-like flap in her heart (known as a patent foramen ovale or PFO), which can cause blood clots that lead to stroke.
Lizzie added: “Thankfully I managed to get through my AS and A Levels, and I’m proud to say that since then I have graduated from the University of Bristol with a first-class honours degree in pharmacology. I’ve now started a graduate trainee programme at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
“It was a tough couple of years, and I am lucky that the only lasting damage was some loss of vision in both eyes. Though this means I can’t drive, I am so grateful that it was not worse; I count myself as very lucky.
“I’ve never been a sporty person, but I love to challenge myself to accomplish new things. So, when I saw the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run I thought it would be an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone whilst raising awareness and money for a cause close to my heart. My training is going quite steadily, but with the encouragement of my boyfriend Tim and the inspiration of my friends and family, I’m determined to do it!
“As well as trying to raise lots of money for the Stroke Association, my mum and I also want to spread the message that stroke happens to young people too. My mum has been telling everyone she can to pass on my story to at least two other people, and ask them to do the same to spread our message. We want more people to know that not every stroke can be identified by the FAST test, and whilst it’s an important test for many, if someone doesn’t show any or all those symptoms it doesn’t mean that they haven’t had a stroke.”
Jen Robinson-Slater, Community and Events Fundraiser 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 Swindon who want to do something fun together, while getting more active in 2018.
“As Lizzie’s experience shows, younger people can have strokes too. Though most people who have a stroke are older, stroke can strike anyone, at any time. 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 Lizzie is taking part. We’re looking forward to cheering her on alongside our other participants as she makes her way through Lydiard Park.”
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 Swindon will help the Stroke Association to fund vital research and support people affected by stroke in the South West.
To sponsor Lizzie, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/elizabeth-treadwell2
Entry fee is just £15. 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.