Northern Ireland news

Two-year-old Parker McGreevy who had multiple strokes at birth starts Resolution Run

Parker McGreevy, official race starter for the Stroke Association's Resolution Run, with his mum Louise. Picture by Ann McManus

A TWO-year-old who had multiple strokes at birth yesterday performed the official start as hundreds of runners raised money for charity.

Parker McGreevy from Belfast was guest of honour at the annual Resolution Run, which gathers funds for the Stroke Association.

Wearing the charity's distinctive purple t-shirts, walkers, joggers and runners twisted and turned around the trails and paths near the River Lagan.

Parker's family said they were very proud of the way he bounced back and continued to recover. His courage saw his nominated for the Stroke Association Life After Strokes Awards.

Taking part in the Stroke Association's annual Resolution Run 5/10k which took yesterday at Queen Sport, Belfast. Picture by Ann McManus

The toddler from north Belfast was accompanied by his parents Louise and Simon as well as his aunts Sarah Jane and Kirsty who all took part in the run.

"I had to have an emergency caesarean due to complications with my pregnancy and unfortunately Parker had multiple strokes when he was born," Louise said.

"It was a very scary time. I didn't realise that a baby could have a stroke so it was shocking for all of us. Parker spent nine days in the neonatal unit and the medical staff told us he would need lots of rehabilitation and support.

"We didn't know what the future held for Parker, whether he would be able to walk or talk. We couldn't be happier or prouder of how far he has come. From being told that the professionals were pessimistic about Parker's future at seven months to watching or beautiful happy boy now - it is amazing."

Sisters Emma-Rose and Shauna McCloskey from Maghera ready to take part in the Stroke Associationâ??s annual Resolution Run 5/10k which took yesterday at Queen Sport, Belfast. Picture by Ann McManus.

More than 4,000 people in the north have a stroke each year. There are now more than 37,000 stroke survivors in Northern Ireland.

Brenda Maguire from the Stroke Association said many people thought only older people could be affected.

"A stroke in a baby or child can come as a big shock," she said.

"There are around 400 childhood strokes every year across the UK and although childhood stroke is rare we know that the consequences can be devastating for those children and their families.

"Parker is responding really well to therapy and making excellent progress. His family's dedication has helped him to make the best recovery possible and long may this continue. It was great to have Parker to launch our Resolution Run. I know lots of our runners were shocked to see such a young stroke survivor but many said they felt inspired by Parker's courage and bravery and the atmosphere was just fantastic."

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