A Derry stroke survivor is preparing to take on an 800 kms cycle challenge to celebrate five years since a devastating stroke almost took his life.
Dr Colin Gorman (43) is planning to tackle the gruelling Camino de Santiago route next month, cycling from St Jean Pied de Port in South France, across the Pyrenees to the north of Spain.
He is aiming to raise awareness of the impact of stroke, especially amongst younger people and raise funds for the Stroke Association .
Dad of three Colin, had a stroke in May, 2012. He collapsed at home, completely without warning and was admitted to hospital.
Doctors discovered Colin had experienced a rare form of stroke – a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage which was caused by bleed on the surface of the brain. Colin endured 4.5 hours of brain surgery as doctors tried to stop the bleeding.
Colin said: “This was a life changing moment which set into action a long chain of challenging and traumatic circumstances not only for me, but undoubtedly more so for those around me.
“I received fantastic medical treatment in the acute stage but on discharge, information, support and services were extremely limited. Nothing really prepares you for stroke. I had difficulty with my memory and concentration and I was exhausted all the time – sleeping for up to 20 hours a day on discharge from hospital. The fatigue has improved greatly since that time but continues to be one of the more persistent and frustrating symptoms of the stroke”.
Colin, a Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer at Ulster University, battled back from illness to continue his work at the Magee campus and is now focusing on new research into the impact of subarachnoid brain haemorrhage.
Colin says this life changing illness inspired him to overhaul his lifestyle and set himself the cycle challenge.
“Before my stroke, I had never been sick, but I worked at 100 miles an hour and rarely said no to anything. I had a busy career, working at the university, for the NHS and in private practice. We had our three young children and were moving house. It was hectic. Looking back I realised that maybe something had to give, and the physical impact of the brain haemorrhage means that in general I have to be a lot more pragmatic about life.
Colin will be joined on the cycle by his Ulster University colleague, Dr John Mallett, and they hope to complete the long cycle in just 10 days. He is collecting donations via a Just Giving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Colin-Gorman-Camino2017.