Graeme back in the running after stroke

Graeme Clarke and family

Graeme Clarke and family

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Father of three Graeme Clark from Edinburgh was a fit and healthy 42-year-old when he suffered a stroke during a triathlon.

It left him with paralysis on his right side and aphasia, a type of communication problem that around a third of stroke survivors suffer from.

His speech problems were particularly hard to take because his job as a senior IT contractor had been all about speaking to people.

After 14 months of specialist speech and language therapy and physio every day, as well as constant support from his friends and family, Graeme gradually started to get his life back. He has also managed to regain some of his fitness with his determination to walk and then run once again.

He said: “Not only have I learned to walk without support and talk again but I’ve also been back on my bike, taken driving lessons to resit my driving test and I’ve been on my first family holiday since my stroke.”

Two years on from this life-changing event, Graeme is preparing to take part in the Stroke Association’s Edinburgh Resolution Run at Cramond Foreshore on March 12.

He decided to take up the challenge to support a good cause close to his heart and to help raise awareness of the important message that strokes can happen to anyone at any time.

Graeme said: “It was always a goal of mine to get back running and the Edinburgh Resolution Run came along at the perfect time. I’m doing it with my wife Moira and my best friend and I know that getting to the finish line will be the icing on the cake in my recovery.”

Jenny Selman, fundraiser for the Stroke Association in Scotland said: “We are delighted that Graeme and his family have chosen to support the Stroke Association. We are incredibly inspired by his story as he really has shown that there can be life after stroke.”

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.

Funds raised at the event will help the Stroke Association to raise awareness of stroke, support people who have had a stroke and provide help and advice to their family and fund vital research. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the UK. There are approximately 15,000 strokes in Scotland every year and more than 120,000 people in Scotland are living with the effects of stroke

Around a quarter of all strokes happen to people of working age or younger.

Experts say high blood pressure is the biggest, preventable, risk factor and that it is a contributing factor in more than half of all strokes.