‘It can happen at any age’ - Stroke survivor to run marathon after being left bedridden
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Mike Jolly had been playing for Norwich Rugby Club in October 2013 when he started to feel unwell.
Thinking it was a knock, he continued on playing but on the way home he realised something was wrong.
He pulled over and began losing consciousness, this is when an ambulance was called. He'd had a stoke at the age of 43.
Mr Jolly, from Taverham, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where it was discovered that a blood clot formed at the base of his brain stem.
As a precaution he was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, in case emergency brain surgery was needed.
The stroke left the bank manager unable to walk or speak and while in hospital he constantly slipped in and out of consciousness.
'Luckily I didn't need the surgery,' the 49-year-old said. 'But I had lost the ability to walk and I literally just laid there unconscious.'
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Once home the father-of-two kept active. He would go for short walks with his family, slowly increasing the distance and pace.
Mr Jolly said: 'I started therapy at home, at that point it was all I could do.
'Within a month I started walking with my mother and mother in-law because I was able to walk at their pace.
'I kept progressing, going a bit further, walking with the children and to my parents.'
By January 2014 while walking with his son, Harry Jolly, 23, he attempted to run and he has not stopped since.
By the summer he had taken part in his first half-marathon in Great Yarmouth and coaches at Reepham Runners. Now, he is running the London Marathon for the Stroke Association.
Mr Jolly lost his childhood friend Phillip Lawson in 2017 to a stroke and saw his friend Richard Boyce lose his mobility.
Mr Jolly said: 'I understand how lucky I am, there are thousands of people who can't do what I can after a stoke or died.
'I want to run for them and the people who can't run to raise awareness as three young, health people have had strokes. It doesn't happen to just old people, it can happen to anyone.'
Mr Jolly will be running with a scout neckerchief in memory of Mr Lawson.
To donate go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MikeJolly.