Step out for stroke survivors at Antrim Castle Gardens in May

Participants in last year's Step Out For Stroke at Antrim Castle. (Submitted Picture).
Participants in last year's Step Out For Stroke at Antrim Castle. (Submitted Picture).

The Stroke Association is holding a ‘Step out for Stroke’ walk in Antrim Castle Gardens on May 21 at 2pm.

This family fundraising event is open to everyone, regardless of age or ability and the charity is calling on people to register to take part alongside local stroke survivors and their families.

Step out for Stroke is an event for everyone affected by stroke and can be as long or as short as participants can manage. For stroke survivors, this challenge often marks their first steps since their stroke.

The flat course starts and finishes beside Clotworthy House and is around one mile in length. Depending on your own ability you can set your own distance: 10 steps, 100 meters, one mile or 10 laps.

Jim Black, from Antrim, who is a stroke survivor and a volunteer with the Stroke Association Antrim support group, said: “I had my stroke at night in July 2009 when I was 42 years old. I stood up to get a glass of water and realised that I couldn’t move my right foot, my right side was weak and I felt very nauseous. I was more concerned about the sick feeling than the foot and right-side problem, as similar short-term things had happened over the last few years (doctors later proposed these as a series of mini-strokes).

“The next morning I got dressed but I couldn’t walk down the stairs as my right foot wouldn’t respond and my balance was still affected. My sister took me straight to Antrim Area Hospital where I was diagnosed with having had a stroke as well as severely high blood pressure. I was there for 10 days.”

Jim added: “I’m lucky – my stroke wasn’t as severe as I’ve seen in other people, although I still have a weakness in my right side and I developed severe fatigue but this has improved over time. I had physiotherapy after I was discharged from hospital which helped my recovery.

“I discovered the Stroke Association in late 2012 when I was looking to get back to work and it was suggested to me to try volunteering. The local stroke support group in Antrim is only a few streets away. Since my introduction, I’ve been involved in many different ways. I volunteer in the groups, assisting the Speech and Language Therapist in providing support to group members. I also help the fundraising teams at collections in the local area and each year I volunteer as a marshal at the local Step Out for Stroke in Antrim Castle Gardens.”

Madeline Donnelly, Fundraiser at the Stroke Association, said: “We’re inviting the whole community to come to this fun day out and help us make it an event to remember. Our Step Out for Stroke in Antrim marks a milestone for many stroke survivors taking part, and it’s an event that the whole family will enjoy.”