Stroke survivor completes run in record time

Stroke survivor Bethany Sinfield (right) with her therapist Hayley Mersh
Stroke survivor Bethany Sinfield (right) with her therapist Hayley Mersh

She explains: “I zoomed off thinking ‘I need to catch up with the other runners.’ Everyone jogged off in front of me so I was way behind. I sped up so fast I was close to running.

“I was linked in with my Mum, who was holding my right arm because I’m not balanced enough on my own to go at such a speed.

“But I finished in 34 minutes – a massive improvement on last year when it took me one hour and 45 minutes.”

Seeing her obvious delight at this achievement, it’s hard to believe that her parents were told she’d never walk or talk again after a devastating stroke two years ago.

The medics who made that gloomy prediction were obviously unaware of the Cedars Upper School student’s steely resolve to return to normal as soon as humanly possible.

She surprised even herself by completing the run in such record time and says: “After the race I was just acting normal but in my head I was floating on Cloud Nine. I couldn’t quite believe I’d done it.

“My dad was walking alongside me all the way and he noticed a huge improvement – he said he had to go really fast to keep up with me to begin with.”

Her physiotherapist was also on hand to share her triumph.

Haley Mersh – head of therapy at Hills Physical Developments – says: “Beth is amazing and an inspiration to many.

“She gives 100 percent to her rehab at all times.

“We’ve been concentrating on her walking speed through the use of strength training, ARNI (Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury) techniques and a lot of practice on Beth’s part. She is very much an example of what hard work can achieve.”

Bethany has been invited to meet ARNI director and Oxford Brooks University honorary senior research fellow Dr Tom Balchin, who himself had a stroke when he was 21.

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