Michelle Richardson, 44, from Uttoxter, is taking on the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run on Sunday 25 February, to mark a milestone in her recovery from a life-changing stroke.
Michelle, a mother of two, felt unwell one morning at work, and her vision started to blur. A thunderclap headache brought her to her knees and she cried out in pain for her colleagues to help.
Michelle said: “I was in a lot of pain. My colleagues gave me painkillers but I felt dizzy, nauseous and really confused, and I was so sensitive to light. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew it wasn’t good.”
After being sent to Stoke Hospital in an ambulance, Michelle was diagnosed as having a rare type of stroke: a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which was caused by an erupted aneurysm. She need an operation and was taken to theatre the next day.
Michelle said: “The procedure went well and when I woke I was chatting with family, however during the night I took a turn for the worse. I didn’t know what was happening but I was terrified. When I woke, I was paralysed down my right hand side and was on the high dependency unit. I couldn’t move or talk.”
After spending around five weeks in hospital, Michelle was transferred home and began the long road to recovery. Her stroke had left her with limited movement in her right side, aphasia, memory problems and fatigue. However, Michelle’s physiotherapist referred her to a local gym to aid her recovery, and she didn’t look back.
Michelle added: “I used to walk to the gym and did everything that I could do safely. I absolutely loved it! After eventually being able to walk again, I knew I wanted to run but my brain just wouldn’t let me do it. I’ve never been a runner but I was determined. Eventually, after the instructors ran alongside me on the treadmill, my memory kicked in and I managed a couple of strides. I’m amazed at what my brain can achieve.
“Now I can run 15 minutes on a treadmill and I’ve signed up for the Stroke Association 5km Resolution Run in February, alongside my husband Martyn. I’m always up for a challenge. It’s been a long journey, but one that’s made me realise just how important it is to be aware of conditions like stroke. I wanted to take on the Resolution Run to raise awareness and vital funds for the Stroke Association.”
Michelle is taking on the charity’s Resolution Run at Croxteth Hall and Country Park in Liverpool on Sunday 25 February, while also volunteering at the Resolution Run in Trentham Gardens on Sunday 04 March.
Mikaela Leape, 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 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 Michelle is taking part. We’re looking forward to cheering her 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, eating healthily and taking regular exercise. The money raised through the Resolution Runs will help the Stroke Association to fund vital research and support people affected by stroke in the West Midlands.
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 email@example.com or call 0300 330 0740.