Ross Terry, 23, from Essex, saw first-hand the debilitating and life-changing impact stroke had on his grandma and both of his grandads.
“Stroke touched my grandparents in different ways,” says Ross. “My grandma was paralysed down her left side and had to use a wheelchair for the remainder of her life.
“To begin with, she could only say a few words: ‘Holiday, I went on holiday’. Gradually she regained some speech but was only able to communicate a small amount.
“My grandad, mum and rest of the family cared for her until she sadly passed. My grandad (on the other side) had a stroke shortly after my grandma. He would often know exactly what he wanted to say but never was able to process it properly.
“My grandad, who took care of my grandma for over 15 years, also had a minor stroke/ TIA. Thankfully, he has made a full recovery since and has no obvious or adverse side effects.
“When I had surgery on my knee, I had a very small experience of what my grandma may have felt without the use of her legs and independence. I made a promise to myself that as soon as I was able to walk again, I would make use of them and start running.”
Ross had planned to run the Virgin London Marathon in 2020 for the Stroke Association. But after the pandemic hit and this was cancelled, he decided to take on the virtual My Prudential RideLondon 100 mile cycle.
“I felt a sense of empowerment when I put on my Stroke Association jersey. Knowing I was spreading awareness and raising money pushed me through every tough obstacle there was.”
Ross is now determined to put on his purple Stroke Association t-shirt again to take on the London Marathon 2021.
“It’s an absolute honour to represent this amazing charity and use whatever resources I can to raise money and awareness to as many people as possible. My life has changed dramatically over the last year. I’m healthier and more active than ever, and more mindful of how I treat my body.
"Stroke can happen at any point and I wanted to do my bit to try to help anyone who has been affected personally or, like me, knows others who have.”
To find out more about Ross’s story and to donate please visit Ross's Just Giving page.