David takes on the London Marathon to thank the Stroke Association

A father-of-two from Preston who suffered a stroke at the age of 41 is running the TCS London Marathon to raise funds for the charity that helped him on his road to recovery.

David Simmons is looking to raise more than £2,000 for The Stroke Association by completing the event in the capital on Sunday April 23.

The 47-year-old interior designer from Fulwood, who is a senior associate at architecture, design and masterplanning group FWP Ltd, spent months recovering from the ischemic stroke he suffered in 2017.

He is still coping with health issues as a result of it, including vertigo, which he is having to overcome to run the marathon.

David said: “The vertigo has been the hardest issue to work with. I was pretty fit before my stroke and getting back to any form of exercise has been difficult. I still can’t get back on a bike.

“When I started running it took some time to retrain my brain to do simple things like turning my head at road junctions.

“I’m running the London marathon to prove to myself I can do this after my stroke and to raise money for such an important charity.

“The Stroke Association was there to help me and my family. They also help so many others that have had a far worse experience, haven’t had the same speed of recovery or are without that support network close to them that I was lucky to have.

“The charity acts as a vital support network when you leave the hospital and become an outpatient. It puts you in touch with the people that can help and is always there for you. Its work is tremendous.”

David suffered a dissection of the vertebral artery in the back of the neck which led to a clot that resulted in his stroke. He was treated at the Royal Preston Hospital after being taken there by ambulance in “horrendous pain”.

He explained: “When a stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down. And so does a part of you. Life changes instantly and recovery is tough. But the brain can adapt.

“An initial loss of use to one side of my body, ability to speak correctly, severe double vision, a loss of feeling to the left side of my body and right side of my head, were fortunately short lived.

“However, it was a very scary period for me and my family and not where I saw myself ending up at the age of 41, having to be assisted to go to the toilet and have a wash.

“With a great physio team, heaps of determination and fortunately age and fitness on my side I did make good progress.

“It took about three months before my vision recovered enough for me to read and a further three months before I was able to drive.

“I am lucky, and without the support of my wife Kate, my family, great friends and a fantastic employer I would have been in a far worse place.”

David’s wife Kate, who is also an interior designer and associate at FWP, will be cheering him on in his marathon attempt next month, along with their children Isla, eight and Esme, five. He has already beaten his initial £2,000 fundraising target.

David said: “It is a charity that was already close to my heart after my grandmother suffered a debilitating stroke in 2000. More than 100,000 people a year suffer a stroke in the UK every year, so the money raised really will count.”

To donate to David’s fundraising attempt. Please visit his fundraising page on JustGiving. https://tinyurl.com/5c8xmusy