Brave Tracy battles back after a stroke
AMIDDLETON fitness fanatic has made an incredible recovery after suffering a stoke at just 46.
Tracy Hughes started to feel faint and collapsed near the end of a gruelling obstacle run last October.
Tracy was with friends from her British Military Fitness (BMF) class, battling her way through mud on the Major’s obstacle course in Leeds at the time.
Her friends raced around to help and she was quickly taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where she was joined by husband Rick after BMF Heaton Park manager Graham O’Brien tracked him down and told him what had happened.
Tracey felt absolutely fine before her stroke and regularly attended BMF classes at Heaton Park and in Bolton, where she works for the North West Ambulance Service.
Tracy said: “The onsite ambulance came over and when I started to slur my words and they saw that I couldn’t lift my arm or leg, I knew I was having a stroke.
“It was scary because they said ‘fast positive’ and, ironically, I work in auditing for the ambulance service and one of the things we look into is strokes so I knew the terminology.”
Graham added: “Tracy was in a bad way. She couldn’t move or speak and was just looking up at us. She doesn’t remember me and Rick getting in the ambulance with her at all.”
Tracy was given thrombolysis to break down the blood clot and later that week she was transferred to the stroke unit at Fairfield Hospital for further tests.
Once she was allowed home for continued rehab, Graham visited her to give her a BMF collection, which the couple spent on a relaxing break to Whitby.
Tracy added: “I was determined to get back to BMF classes because I really missed the friends I had made there and Graham is brilliant.
“He has always been dead encouraging, but on this occasion he told me, ‘don’t be coming back and doing 20 sessions a week now!’
With Rick’s help, Tracy did the 5km Poppy Run in her wheelchair a month after her stroke and got up right at the end to walk over the finish line.
Now, six months later, she’s on a phased return to work and has done four sessions back at Heaton Park, just taking things easier.
Tracy added: “I was so lucky that I was seen within the four-hour window that’s crucial to treating strokes. My stroke was just out of the blue. My blood pressure was fine.
“The only thing that could have contributed to it was stress levels. My doctors and physio said to me that it’s because I was fit I’ve made such a good, speedy recovery.”
Gabi Field, head of community and events fundraising at the Stroke Association, which is raising awareness of stroke with its Make May Purple campaign this month, said: “There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that’s around one stroke every five minutes.
“Having a stroke is devastating. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time.
“Every second counts when you are having a stroke, so recognising the signs and calling 999 for an ambulance really is crucial.
“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.”
Stroke survivor Tracy Hughes with husband Rick at the Poppy Run