Jo and Stevi, two stroke survivors from Swindon who both had a stroke shortly after giving birth are supporting one another by taking on the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run, on Sunday 02 April at Lydiard Park.
Jo Wallace and Stevi Marshall found friendship last year after discovering they had both been through a similar experience. Both women had a stroke in just under two weeks of giving birth to their first child.
Jo, 40, from Swindon, had a stroke last July, just ten days after she gave birth to her daughter. Jo said: “I don’t really remember much of what happened – and at the time it didn’t sink in to just how terrifying it all was. When I got to hospital my blood pressure was extremely high, which I now know is a big risk factor for a stroke.
“Not only was my husband Stuart an absolute rock through this, but so were the hospital team. Whilst Stuart cared for our new-born baby, the hospital team helped me to still have bonding time with my daughter.
As a result of her stroke, Jo now has a communication difficulty called aphasia. Jo said: “Having aphasia can be really frustrating. I forget words, or go to say something and something completely random comes out. Thankfully I have a really understanding and patient husband who helps me.”
“I’m really keen to raise awareness of stroke in mums, and in younger people in general. I found that doctors were too quick to assume I had post-natal depression, or write my symptoms off as being something to do with being a new mum. Taking on the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run is my bit to say thank you to everyone who supported me with my recovery.”
Stevi Marshall, 30, from Swindon had a stroke in October, just two weeks after giving birth to her son. Stevi said: “Sitting on a stroke ward at 30 years old is completely terrifying. I feel very lucky that my recovery has gone so well. When I came out of hospital, I still couldn’t speak properly, I couldn’t read and struggled with remembering things. It was really scary.
“At the time I felt so alone, but when I found out there was someone who has been through a similar experience, it was a huge relief. Jo and I now regularly meet up to support one another, and also invite other women in the area who have been through a similar experience to join us.
“I’m so thankful for my amazing family and friends who supported me, but also to the hospital staff too. The hospital team were amazing at making sure I kept the bond with my little boy. They also helped form the support group where I met Jo. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be today. They truly did save me.
“I’m not much of a runner, and never thought I’d take on something like this, but the stroke has really made me realise how precious life is. Taking part in the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run is a way for me to thank everyone who supported me and to raise vital funds for the charity. To have Jo by my side on the day makes me feel so determined; we’ve both been through something really frightening and now we’re on a mission to make more people aware of stroke.”
Jayne Hughes, Fundraising Manager at the Stroke Association, said: “With around 1.2 million people across the UK living with the devastating impact of stroke it is vital that we have people like our Resolution Runners to raise funds and help us conquer stroke. We’re thrilled Jo and Stevi are taking part; they are a real inspiration. We’re looking forward to cheering them on alongside our other participants as she makes their way through the park.
“At least half of strokes could be prevented if people made simple lifestyle changes, such as keeping blood pressure under control and exercising more. The money raised will help the charity fund vital research, support people affected and prevent stroke.”
Entry fee is just £15 and runners can choose the 5km, 10km or 15km course. All runners receive a technical running t-shirt and medal. For more information about entering or volunteering at the Resolution Run, visit www.stroke.org.uk/resolution, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 330 0740.
For more information about our Communication Support Service in Swindon, please visit: www.stroke.org.uk/finding-support/swindon-communication-support-service
For more information please contact Daisy Dighton on email@example.com or 0207 940 1358