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Waterlooville resident goes the extra mile for the Stroke Association

Press release   •   Mar 16, 2018 19:37 GMT

Gary Saunders, 56, from Waterloovilleis taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Stroke Association on Sunday 22 April 2018.

Gary was inspired to take on the marathon after his sister Jean had a stroke last June, and sadly passed away. Jean Fray, 60, was celebrating her eldest daughter’s wedding when she had a stroke. Jean collapsed just an hour after watching her daughter walk down the aisle and was quickly rushed to hospital.

Gary said: “It was such a shock to everyone. Jean was a fit, healthy and only 60 years old. We were heartbroken. A few days later my mum was taken into hospital and also had a stroke, she sadly passed away three weeks later.

“As a family we’re on a mission to make more people aware of this devastating condition. Often a stroke has no warning signs, like in Jean’s case, and we believe that more people should know a stroke can happen to anyone at any age.

“When I’m pounding the streets of London in April, it will hurt and feel tough, but I know Jean and my mum will be looking down on me pushing me to the finish line.”

Emma Evans at the Stroke Association, said: “A stroke turns lives upside down. It’s the fourth biggest killer in the in the UK and a leading cause of disability.

“We’re thrilled Gary is taking on this challenge to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association and we’re looking forward to cheering him on as he makes his way through London. Around 1.2 million people in the UK are living with the devastating impact of stroke. With the support of people like Gary we can help more stroke survivors and their families rebuild their lives.”

To sponsor Gary, please visit

  • 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 more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that is around one stroke every five minutes. 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