Mansfield stroke victim Claire is gearing up for London Marathon

Claire Haywood was just a teenager when she suffered a stroke but since then she has gone from strength to strength.

Claire 27, from Mansfield is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Stroke Association on Sunday April 28 - exactly 10 years to the day since she left hospital following her stroke.

Claire, who had her stroke when she was just 17, had to spend two weeks in hospital due to the right sided weakness and seizures. In running her first marathon and raising money for the Stroke Association, Claire is now hoping to raise more awareness that stroke can happen to anyone, no matter what age they are.

She said: “One weekend, in my sixth form Easter holidays, I began to suffer from crippling headaches and severe sickness. I was unable to eat or drink and after a couple of days woke up unable to use my right arm and leg. My mum called the ambulance who suspected a severe migraine. After being taken to A&E I was eventually admitted.

“That evening I began to suffer seizures and was transferred to another hospital where an MRI scan confirmed cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, leading to a two week stay in hospital”

“This is my first ever marathon and it’s fallen on exactly ten years since I was discharged following my stroke – it’s extremely poignant for me.”

Since her stroke, Claire has gone on to finish her A Levels, graduate university and now works as an Acute Stroke Response Nurse at her local stoke unit.

She now wants to help raise more awareness that stroke is a medical emergency and people should call 999 immediately if someone is showing signs of a stroke, regardless of their age.

Claire said: “My jobs means a lot to me as I assess people who present with symptoms suggestive of stroke like I did. I am passionate about the ongoing work of the Stroke Association and increasing the recognition of stroke in younger people”

Sara Betsworth, Head of Stroke Support at the Stroke Association, said: “There are around 100,000 strokes every year in the UK and 1.2 million people in the UK are living with the devastating impact of stroke. We’re so grateful to Claire for taking on this famous challenge to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association and we’ll be cheering her on all the way to the finish line.

“A stroke can happen to anyone at any time, even younger people and it turns lives upside down. However, with the support of people like Claire we can help more stroke survivors and their families as they look to rebuild their lives.”