Life

Stroke Association in call for bakers to support October fundraising week

Kim Colhoun who is calling on amateur bakers to support the Stroke Association's 'Give a Hand and Bake' week, 23-29 October

SAINTFIELD mum and stroke survivor Kim Colhoun is calling on all Bake Off fans to roll up their sleeves and get baking for charity.

The driving instructor – and keen baker – is lending her support to the fundraising 'Give a Hand and Bake' week (October 23-29) organised by the Stroke Association.

Kim, one of 37,000 stroke survivors living in Northern Ireland, has very personal reasons to say thank you to the charity, after completing its Lisburn Communication Plus programme and making a remarkable recovery following her stroke in February at the age of 48.

"I was sitting down to have breakfast with my husband and mum when I noticed I was dribbling down my face on the right side," she says. "I couldn’t speak and I had lost movement down my right hand side.

"Thankfully, my husband remembered the FAST advert and called an ambulance and I was rushed to Royal Victoria Hospital. Within two hours I was given clot-busting drugs and had surgery to remove a clot from my brain.

"Later, the speech therapist explained that part of my brain had effectively died, but by using neuro-plasticity, we could rewire it with lots of practice."

Although Kim still struggles with aphasia – a communication disability which affects around a third of stroke survivors – she says that quick recognition of her symptoms was vital in her survival and recovery – and that her experience is an important reminder that stroke can happen at any age.

"I feel lucky that I’ve received lots of support from the community stroke team and Stroke Association," she adds. "That’s why I’m supporting Give A Hand and Bake – and I’d love more people to get involved.

"Baking is like stroke therapy and after my stroke I was baking nearly every day. It's a brilliant way to help fund world-leading research that will help to save lives and change the story for stroke survivors like me."

:: Visit www.stroke.org/GAH for details on how to get involved.

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