Gary’s Blog – my return to health after a stroke

Hi fellow Virtual Runners, just wanted to share my story with you.

In 2010 I developed the most common abnormal heart rhythm, Atrial fibrillation – Initially, it was intermittent or Paraxysmal.

I had always kept myself fit by running, rowing and cycling mainly, and was keen to maintain my fitness.

I found that i could exercise easily when my heart was in normal sinus rhythm, but struggled just walking to the shops when it was out of sync.

In 2012 I had a major stroke followed by a mini stroke a week later – I temporarily lost my sight completely but was lucky enough not to have sustained any further damage to my body.

Shortly afterwards, I was offered a pioneering new treatment that could possibly cure my atrial fibrillation. Although the operation was uncomfortable, it worked!

Seven years on, and many VR medals later, I remain Atrial fibrillation free and love running with my daughters Amy and Beth and sons Jack, Sam and Josh.

This year, I am running the Great North Run, with oldest daughter Amy, to raise money for the research that means new treatments like mine continue to be funded and developed for others.

During my recovery the ability to complete challenges, through Virtual Runner mainly, in my own time, at my own pace has proved invaluable. My times have come down and my distance has increased up to Ultra level now.

My hope with this blog is that anyone going through a similar thing sees that there is, in my case at least, light at the end of the tunnel!!