Wimbledon stroke survivor set to tackle cycle challenge for the Stroke Association

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A Wimbledon stroke survivor is gearing up to cycle from London to Brighton on Sunday 16 September, to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association.

Riaghnach Loughran, 31 from Wimbledon had a mini-stroke (also known as a transient ischaemic attack, or TIA) in 2013.

Riaghnach said: “I was in the theatre with my mum for her birthday when all of a sudden my left arm went heavy. When I tried to move it I realised it was paralysed. The feeling came back a moment later and I didn’t think much of it after that. I continued the evening with my mum and it wasn’t until the next day when my brother read up on the symptoms, that we realised that I should see a doctor.”

Doctors identified that Riaghnach had a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a trapdoor-like flap in her heart that can cause blood clots, which could also have contributed to her stroke. Riaghnach underwent keyhole surgery to correct this in 2015.

Riaghnach is training for the London to Brighton Cycle Ride next month where she’ll cycle 54 miles for the Stroke Association. Riaghnach added: “I’m really excited for the challenge. My mum had a stroke in 2011, thankfully she has made a brilliant recovery, but I now realise just how important it is for people to know more about the condition. A stroke can happen to anyone, at any time. My mum and I are fit, healthy and young – people are shocked to realise either of us have had a stroke.

“At the time of my stroke I was training for the London Marathon which then had to be put on hold. In 2014 I took on a half marathon for the Stroke Association and felt so proud. The Stroke Association offer vital support for stroke survivors and their loved ones. I wanted to take on this cycling challenge to thank the charity for what they do, but to also raise awareness to others.

“I’ve been cycling to work every day and doing long bike rides in my spare time. My family and friends have been so supportive, I know they’ll all be with me on the day!”

Hannah Richards, Regional Fundraising Manager at the Stroke Association, said: “With around 1.2 million people across the UK living with the devastating impact of stroke, it is vital that we have people like Riaghnach helping to raise funds for us. The money raised will fund vital research and support for stroke survivors, as well as help to prevent people from having a stroke.

“We’re delighted that Riaghnach has made such a great recovery from her stroke and is taking on the challenge for us. We’re really looking forward to cheering Riaghnach on as she makes her way through London.”

To sponsor Riaghnach, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/riaghnach-loughran

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