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Stroke survivor takes fundraising to new heights

A hospital volunteer who suffered a life changing brain haemorrhage which left her in a coma is taking on an abseil challenge to raise money for the hospital that cared for her.

In 2018, Kate was about to start her new job as a deputy headteacher at a primary school when she suffered a brain haemorrhage. She was rushed by ambulance from Tunbridge Wells Hospital to King’s College Hospital and was in a coma for more than two weeks. Kate underwent 16 hours of brain surgery, and though it was successful in treating the bleed on her brain, she lost the use of the left side of her body and was worried she would never be mobile again.

Kate describes her fear that life would never be the same: “I was an anxious person before my stroke, and would never travel too far or take any risks. When I woke up after surgery, I was scared that there were so many things I had never done and would never be able to do.”

After her operation by the specialist team at King’s, Kate left hospital in a wheelchair and came back to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) for her rehabilitation where she was treated by Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy teams.

Three months of hard work with the neurological physiotherapists led to Kate’s recovery. She is now up and walking, and is even booked in to abseil down the side of Tunbridge Wells Hospital in June as part of the MTW Hospitals Charity fundraising event.

Kate is dedicating her abseil to MTW’s Physiotherapy team, and hopes that the money she raises will fund extra equipment and resources to help other stroke patients. She said: “Without the support of the teams at MTW, I wouldn’t even be walking, let alone taking on an abseil! I cannot thank the physiotherapists, occupational therapists, doctors and nurses enough. We are so lucky to have such incredible staff at our hospitals and in the community.”

Reflecting on her experience, Kate said: “Before my stroke, I would never have considered doing something as challenging as an abseil, but the whole experience has taught me that life is too short and that you should take opportunities when you can.

“I want to let anybody who has experienced a stroke, or any kind of medical emergency, know that recovery is possible and there is life on the other side. I am living my life to the full thanks to the wonderful teams at King’s and MTW, and want to inspire others to do the same wherever possible.”

Kate is one of over 100 people taking on the 100ft Abseil Challenge at Tunbridge Wells Hospital on Saturday 15 June, and has set up a JustGiving fundraising page to raise money for MTW Hospitals Charity.