DSC_0421 (1280x853)Stroke survivors and carers from across Manchester have taken on a 35 foot high aerial assault course to support the Stroke Association.

On Friday 30 October, the group completed Challenge 4 Change, an assault course equipped to accommodate participants with disabilities. The event was organised by the Stroke Association’s Manchester Information, Advice and Support Service, which supports people affected by stroke across Greater Manchester.

Among the stroke survivors taking part was former Sergeant Major Instructor, Paul Greenough, 59, from Manchester. Paul had a stroke in June 2014 after serving in the army and Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force for more than 20 years.

Paul said: “The course was a real challenge and my legs were a little wobbly when I got to the top, but I managed to overcome my fear. Taking part actually brought back memories of being in the army; the cargo net was a piece of cake! After a stroke, it’s so important not to give up, you have to keep fighting. I’ve realised I’m one of the lucky ones and taking part in Challenge 4 Change helped to prove this.”

Geoff Heathcote, 65, from Failsworth, cares for his wife Mary after she had a stroke. He said: “I’m scared of heights so was really proud of myself for taking part. Everyone had a different challenge to overcome and we all came away with a real sense of achievement.”

Krysia Roff, 62 from Manchester, was left with severe aphasia after her stroke. After initially worrying about taking part, she was tethered to Stroke Association coordinator Helen and described the whole experience as “wonderful”.

Helen Gilbertson, Community Stroke Support Coordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “A stroke strikes in an instant but its effects can last a lifetime. There are around 152,000 strokes each year and it is the largest cause of complex disability in the UK. We celebrated World Stroke Day on 29 October by taking part in Challenge 4 Change, which uses specialist equipment to enable people with disabilities to take part in the assault course. All our stroke survivors and carers who took part had a really memorable and enriching experience.”

Dave Djordjevic, Chief Executive of Challenge 4 Change, said: “At Challenge 4 Change we believe we are truly inclusive and that everyone can achieve something here. We are proud to support World Stroke Day and to play a positive part in the stroke survivors’ journey of progression.”

World Stroke Day takes place each year on 29 October. Since 2006, World Stroke Day has highlighted the worldwide rates of stroke, raised awareness of the steps that can be taken to prevent stroke and called for better support for stroke survivors and carers.

The Stroke Association provides an Information, Advice and Support Service in Central and North Manchester, in partnership with Manchester City Council and Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group. For more information about stroke, ring the Helpline on 0303 30 33 100 or visit www.stroke.org.uk.

The event was a project of the Manchester Reducing Social Isolation & Loneliness in Older People programme 2014-16. Grant Funding from North, Central & South Manchester NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in partnership with Age Friendly Manchester. Managed by Macc. Further information at: http://bit.ly/maccrsi