Home Stroke Stroke survivor who learned to walk again goes extra mile for lifesavers

Stroke survivor who learned to walk again goes extra mile for lifesavers

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Charlene Carrington thought she was a healthy 23-year-old, but she was a medical ticking time bomb.

In July 2019, she suffered a massive stroke and brain haemorrhage caused by an AVM, a congenital condition which can kill and which saw her hospitalised for five months.

Now nearly two years into the long and painstaking road to recovery, Charlene, from Great Harwood, has vowed to give something back to the neurology department who ‘saved her life’ – with a walking challenge throughout the month of April.

Now 25, she has set herself the stiff task of walking two miles in every day of April – with donations to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity.

Charlene, who has lived in Great Harwood for nearly four years, will be joined on the walks by her fiancee Emily Aspinall and their beloved Jack Russell, Stuie.

Now able to walk without mobility aids, Charlene has been undergoing on and off physiotherapy despite inevitable disruption caused by the pandemic and says the furthest she has walked since her stroke is three miles.

“And that absolutely physically destroyed me!” she said.

“Two miles a day is definitely going to be physically demanding for me and not going to be easy, but for what that hospital did for me this would be nothing in comparison.

“I want to thank people for the donations I’ve received.

“Stuie is going to be coming along with us every time. I didn’t see him for nearly six months and then Emily surprised me one day.

“She took me out in the wheelchair and brought Stuie to the park near where my rehab was.

“He didn’t recognise me at first, which broke my heart.”

Charlene Carrington
Charlene Carrington

Charlene, who is originally from Manchester, spent two months in a neuro ward at Royal Preston, before walking out of Burnley’s Rakehead rehab centre for the final time just before Christmas 2019.

The symbolism of the challenge is heavy as she had feared the worst once the severity of her brain injury had begun to sink in, although she had been determined to make as full a recovery as possible.

“In the beginning because the brain injury was so fresh I didn’t acknowledge what was going on,” she admitted.

“It was gut-wrenching. They got me walking again and that was the one thing it couldn’t take away from me. They said ‘you’re going to walk out of here’ and I did.

“When I first went in I thought I was going to be bed-bound for the rest of my life. But they believed in me and motivated me.

“I came out just before Christmas; I was meant to be staying until New Year but I got to the point where I was in hospital for so long I just wanted to go home.

“I’m a lot better mobility-wise now and can do a lot of stuff for myself. Probably coming home is the best rehab you can have.

“You do stuff without even thinking.”

Despite her physios being diverted to Covid duties, Charlene says they have been “incredible” and still contact her and send her exercises.

Like most of us her life has been disrupted by the pandemic as well as her condition – a long-planned holiday to Italy later in the year looks highly doubtful, but she and Emily, 26, are looking forward to getting married next July.

She also hopes that her youth is on her side when it comes to long-term prognosis.

Charlene Carrington with fiancee Emily Aspinall
Charlene Carrington with fiancee Emily Aspinall

“Every single person I’ve spoken to about it has said because of my age I can make a full recovery,” she said.

“I do believe that in another year’s time I will be completely different to how I am now.

“I was sent home with a wheelchair because I couldn’t really walk far.

“I’m only 25 and still got my life ahead of me.

“I’m never going to be the same because I did have a relatively bad brain trauma.

Charlene spent two months in a neuro ward at Royal Preston
Charlene spent two months in a neuro ward at Royal Preston

“I’ve accepted that, but my main goal is to try and get back to the way I was as much as I can.

“I’m quite hopeful and have got people around me who motivate and tell me every day that I’m improving and that’s nice to hear.

“There are people it happens to and they don’t live to talk about what they’ve been through. I count myself very lucky because I survived and got through it.

“Physically I was affected but it’s made me a heck of a lot stronger person.”

To donate to Charlene’s fundraiser go her JustGiving page. So far she is more than halfway towards her £1,000 target.

https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/stroke-survivor-who-learned-walk-20275036

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