Julie Cleary (LOK) finished her Orienteering Control Challenge in aid of the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia on the 18th November.
Julie finished her challenge with a final push by doing three races in one weekend which included a night orienteering event, and two other races including a yellow course with newcomers on the Sunday.
The challenge took place over one month at the end of last year and involved visiting 120 orienteering controls – 1 for every month in the 10 years since her stroke.
Photos kindly supplied by LOK
Julie says: “Aphasia is an inability to comprehend or formulate language due to damage in the brain. Often caused by strokes but head trauma and progressive neurological disorders (eg MND and dementia) can worsen the condition. Imagine not being able to tell your doctor how you feel? Or being incapable of saying please or thank you - that was my life for about 2 months before I began to teach my brain to communicate again.
Orienteering is often called "the thought sport", and a therapist speculated that my recovery was greatly aided as all my life my brain has been trained to figure out routes around things - like a lake or damaged neurons!”
Over the course of the challenge, Julie ran 58.5 km and found 137 control flags. Total raised (with gift aid) is £3,575.00.
Julie comments: "A couple of the weekends were rainy and cold. That takes a toll on my physical reserves as my brain seems to want more energy to keep me warm. Running in the woods or on moorland in the wet without slipping requires a huge effort from me - I just don't like falling at all! However, it was all worth it in the end. The challenge raised awareness of Aphasia and generosity of donations will help the Trust with people who have not been so lucky as me. Thank you so much."
Further details about the challenge and photos can be found here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/juliecleary