Lauren Curry, 23, from the Wirral, is embarking on a demanding year-long fundraising mission for the Stroke Association, culminating in a five-day ultra-marathon through Arctic Sweden.
Lauren was inspired to raise vital funds for the charity after her granddad Harry Gornall had two strokes, leaving him in need of 24 hour care. He had his first stroke in September 2013 aged 74, which left him in intensive care, and the family were told to expect the worst. Harry was left unable to walk, eat, speak or write, and with very poor eyesight.
After intense rehabilitation, he gradually learnt how to walk small distances with support, and his speech slowly improved. However, Harry had a second stroke this month as Lauren kicked off her fundraising challenge and he is currently recovering in Whiston Hospital.
From February 2016 to February 2017, Lauren will take on a series of unusual and gruelling challenges, aiming to raise £10,000 for the Stroke Association. She kicked off her mission this month with an all-day spinning masterclass at Thornton Hall Country Health Club.
Lauren is now preparing to take on a wide range of different challenges, including the Berlin Marathon in May, the Great North Swim in Windermere in June and a firewalk organised by the Stroke Association on Monday 29 February in Christleton.
Her challenges will also include joining Lambeth cycling label, Huez, to take on Alpe d’Huez on Thursday 28 April. Alongside the team, she’ll rent a Santander Cycle from Angel Station, drive through France, ride up Alpe d’Huez, and return the bike back to a docking station within 24 hours.
Finally, her one woman fundraising mission will culminate with a gruelling Ultra Marathon through Arctic Sweden in February 2017. Lauren will trek over a demanding 230km route of snow fields, mountains and frozen lakes, with temperatures dipping to - 30°C. Lauren will be responsible for carrying all her kit and equipment, making an already challenging course exceptionally harder.
Lauren said: “I’ve chosen to do these challenges to push myself to the limit, both mentally and physically. It was a real shock when my granddad had his first stroke as he was fit and healthy. Now he has had a second stroke, we are beginning the long process of recovery all over again. He is such a huge inspiration and makes me appreciate life so much more than I ever have before. He never complains about anything and always has a huge smile on his face.
“I’ve chosen to raise funds for the Stroke Association as it’s a cause close to my heart. My granddad has been supported by the charity and attends the Communication Support group in Knowsley each week, which he loves. I’ve been going along with him each week and have actually just signed up to be a volunteer for the charity.
“I’m nervous about the challenges, particularly the Ultra Marathon which will be my biggest challenge due to the distance and length of the trek, but I’m raring to go and I know it will all be worth it!”
Laura McMullin, Events Officer at the Stroke Association, said: “Lauren is truly going the extra mile for the Stroke Association, by taking on this awe-inspiring series of fundraising events over the coming year. Without the efforts of fundraisers like Lauren, we wouldn’t be able to support the 42,000 people in the North West who are currently living with the devastating effects of stroke, as well as their families and carers. We wish her the absolute best of luck and look forward to seeing her conquer each challenge throughout the year.”
Lauren is also hoping to complete the Three Lakes Challenge, which involves kayaking 43 miles across the three largest lakes in Britain within 24 hours. This 24 hour time limit will include travelling 380 miles between England, Wales and Scotland to each of the lakes. Lauren is appealing to local businesses to support this challenge by providing a kayak and equipment. To support, please contact Lauren on firstname.lastname@example.org
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