Stroke survivor to take part in the ‘Great North Run’

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Stroke survivor to take part in the ‘Great North Run’ thumbnail

A MOTHER-of-two who suffered a stroke almost two years ago is taking part in Newcastle Upon Tyne's 'Great North Run' to raise funds for the Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke (NICHS) charity.
Grainne Rice will take on the gruelling run on Sunday, September 9 and is busy training.
This week, she took time out to speak to the Strabane Weekly News about the moment that changed her life.
The 47-year-old suffered an Acute Ischemic Stroke on October 17, 2016 - the same day as her daughter Erin's 11th birthday.
She explained: "The day had been normal enough although I did feel slightly dizzy and unwell for a few seconds around lunchtime but thought nothing seriously of it. We went out to dinner that evening for my daughter Erin's birthday, which went smoothly, returned home and went to bed as normal.
"But I woke during the night with an excruciating pain in back of my neck. Initially I thought I'd lay wrong on it. My husband got me some painkillers and I eventually went to sleep again.
"The following morning on the way to work I felt tired and sore my arms felt a bit heavy as if I was perhaps taking the flu and on passing the doctors decided to call in on the off chance I could get checked over.
"On seeing the doctor and getting an examination she initially treated me for a trapped nerve and I thought nothing more of it other than I wouldn't be able to go to training that night or for the whole week."
Grainne returned to work that day but continued to have some soreness in her neck which she put down to a trapped nerve. She continued: "It was later on that evening when I was talking to my husband and had just turned to walk away that I came over all dizzy with no co-ordination and began to be sick.
"They helped me to bed where the only relief I got was to lie still as anytime I moved my head or turned in the bed I felt sick. I couldn't even lift my head when going to the bathroom I was like a drunk person and was continually feeling nauseous
Medical advice
"'I didn't seek medical advice as I was only aged 45 and was generally in good health apart from suffering minor head colds. We initially put it down to food poisoning or vertigo although I had never previously experienced either of them and so we thought we didn't need to trouble the doctors at this stage.
''But it continued for a further two days at which time my husband felt we should bypass doctors and go straight to A&E. On explaining to the doctor what the problem was he immediately began to check my blood pressure which was normal and then checked my hand and arm movements for co-ordination.
"At this stage, he noticed I couldn't touch my nose with my right hand and ordered a CT which showed no problems. But the doctor still wasn't happy and after a few hours of monitoring me he sent home awaiting a MRI Scan which came a few days later."
The MRI results revealed that she had a tear in her carotid artery and although it prevented the clot from moving, it caused Grainne to have a stroke which she admitted turned her and her families life 'upside down.'
After being housebound for three months she met with occupational therapist, Eimear Bradley (NICHS), who encouraged her to try the 'Moving on Programme.'
"I really enjoyed the programme because it gave me a chance to meet with other people who were going through something similar. The programme taught us to accept that we had a stroke and helped build our confidence as well.
"I completed two blocks of six weeks sessions. The staff at NICHS helped me understand what was going on in my body, mind and how to deal with it," she said.
"In my case not being able to run as a social outlet was incredibly difficult for me and as a result I would have been quite emotional and angry even thinking about it but accepting and listening to my body definitely made it easier for me."
But two years on, Grainne has been discharged from her stroke consultant and now looking ahead taking part in the 'Great North Run.'
She began training twice a week in January with her running club 'Everyone's a Winner' who she describes as being a 'fantastic motivation' especially coach, Danny Burns.
She added: "'I've completed a few 5Ks to date and have seen some improvement. I'm not back to where I was but I'm enjoying it and it's great to feel part of something again. In the meantime I'll be raising some funds for NICHS and hope to achieve my target of £500 on my Justgiving page.
"I would like to thank all of those of have donated and to my family, friends and NICHS for all the support they've given me. If someone gets some kind of help from reading about my experience and how NICHS helped it's worth it and other advice I'd give is take time for yourself no matter how busy life is and seek medical advice if they're suddenly feeling unwell."
In preparation for the Great North Run (GNR) Grainne took part in a 10K run in Lough Eske, County Donegal on Saturday.
To donate to her fundraising quest visit


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