An Armagh woman – who suffered a stroke almost four years ago – is helping to organise a charity fundraiser on the Mall to help others who have been affected.
And Helen Graham is inviting everyone to join in and ‘Make May Purple’ and ‘Step Out for Stroke’ in Armagh.
She is encouraging everyone to register to join in her second Step Out for Stroke event to raise awareness and funds for the Stroke Association NI.
Helen has been helped in the organising of the event by Barbara Parr, who is also recovering after having a stroke in September 2014.
The family orientated walking event will be held at The Mall, on Sunday, May 12.
A busy mum of four and dedicated primary school teacher, Helen survived a stroke in November 2015 and says that the shock and trauma of her stroke had a huge impact, not just on her, but the whole family.
Helen lost her peripheral vision for a time, struggled with mobility and speech difficulties, extreme fatigue and emotional trauma.
To this day, Helen is still fighting to rebuild her life after stroke and has received support throughout her recovery from the Stroke Association. Helen now volunteers to help others and has given generously of her time and energy as a volunteer, campaigner and fundraiser for the charity.
Helen said: “I knew nothing about stroke. I thought it was something physical that happened to older people. I never knew it could happen to babies, young people or me. I was traumatised.
“If I had to describe how I feel about it now, it’s like a bereavement of yourself- grieving for a life lost and a future that’ll never be. I thought, how could this happen to me? I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink and I was relatively fit and healthy. I didn’t tick any of the boxes.
“Now though, I’m really looking forward to my second Step Out for Stroke event in Armagh city. Thanks to Bounce a-bout Armagh’s sponsorship, we will be bringing Mickey and Minnie along to join in the fun!
“We would also encourage everyone to wear something purple. I’ve been out and about putting up posters, telling everyone I know to tell everyone they know to come along and join us on Sunday12th May. It’s so important to get support, not just physically but emotionally too.”
Step Out for Stroke is the perfect opportunity for stroke survivors, friends and families to take part in a walk together. Each step you take helps raise awareness of stroke and vital funds for our work in supporting those affected by stroke.
The great thing about Step Out for Stroke is that you can walk at your own pace and in your own time. So, whether you walk just a few steps or the full mile, you’re doing something amazing. Don’t forget to encourage friends and family to enter too and join you on the walk.
Step out for Stroke walks will take place across the UK from May to July 2019 to raise money for the Stroke Association to support stroke survivors and their families. Stroke is a leading cause of disability and there are over 36,000 people in Northern Ireland and 1.2 million people across the UK, rebuilding lives after stroke.
For stroke survivors taking part, it can also be a celebration of their first steps towards overcoming the challenges of living with stroke and regaining their independence.
Madeline Donnelly, Fundraiser with the Stroke Association, said: “Stroke changes lives in an instant. Recovery is tough but with the right support and a ton of determination and courage stroke survivors can rebuild their lives after stroke.
“It’s a real inspiration to see Helen not only taking on this walking challenge to raise vital funds to support other stroke survivors, but she has really taken the lead in organising the event. Step out for Stroke is a fun walk that everyone can be part of, no matter what your age or fitness level.
“We’re inviting the whole community to come to this fun day out and help us make it an event to remember.”
Step Out for Stroke Armagh will be held from the Cricket Pavilion at Mall West, starting at 3pm, with registration from 2.30pm. It is a great way to support those affected by stroke within the local area. Registration is £5 and you can register online at www.stroke.org.uk/stepout
The Stroke Helpline is a place for information and support. Get in touch on 0303 3033 100.