The 575 Stroke Challenge team from Dunloy have received a top award at the recent Northern Ireland Life After Stroke Awards ceremony.
Stroke survivor Raymond Kelly along with his two cycling partners, Simon Corrigan and Peter Zagrapan were presented with the Special Recognition Award at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast as part of Action on Stroke month.
Health Minister Edwin Poots, Government and Health representatives honoured the achievements of stroke survivors, their carers and supporters at the event. Local celebrities also attended including event host and Northern Ireland Stroke Association patron, BBC’s Noel Thompson, Belfast Citybeat Radio presenter Sara Neill and acclaimed artist Paul Bell.
Tom Richardson, Northern Ireland Director, Stroke Association commented on the local teams success stating; “44-year-old Dunloy stroke survivor, Raymond Kelly, along with his two cycling partners, Simon Corrigan and Peter Zagrapan, raised a fantastic £13,695 for the Stroke Association by successfully completing the ultimate challenge of cycling 500 miles and climbing seven mountain peaks in just five days!
“Raymond had his first stroke at the age of 38 which left him with aphasia as well as physical and emotional problems. Since then, he has had further strokes but has slowly improved his speech and regained mobility with the support of the Stroke Association, his wife Denise and their two children. This remarkable event not only raised significant funding for the Stroke Association but also much needed awareness of stroke and is highly deserving of the Special Recognition award.”
Speaking after the event Raymond said receiving the award was a fantastic honour.
As well as receiving an award, the 575 Stroke Challenge team were also surprised with a specially recorded message from former Giro D’Italia Irish winner Stephen Roche and a signed photo!
A total of eight Awards were handed out at the event in what proved to be an inspiring and emotional evening for both winners and guests alike.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said; “The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards demonstrates the excellent work across Northern Ireland to help support stroke sufferers and their families. They recognise the accomplishments of people who have been affected by, or who have had a stroke, overcoming personal challenges. The awards also give well deserved recognition to individuals and groups across the community who do so much to help stroke sufferers maximise their rehabilitation and recovery.”
Tom Richardson added: “Around 34,000 people across Northern Ireland are currently living with the effects of stroke and each one is an inspiration to us all. May is Action on Stroke Month which focuses this year on raising awareness of mini-strokes or TIAs throughout Northern Ireland.”
For further information, please visit www.stroke.org.uk or facebook.com/strokeassociationni