Brave Tracy bat­tles back af­ter a stroke

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - HE­LEN JOHN­SON

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

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