A BATTLING gran who fought back from a brain aneurysm and six strokes left her wheelchair behind to take on a gruelling sponsored walk.
Kath Wardle braved the challenge to raise cash for the unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital which has helped her recovery.
The determined 62-year-old walked from her home in Pennywell to the hospital.
Kath, who refuses to let her severe disabilities rule her life, even dressed in a Santa suit for the event.
Kath, who also suffers from diabetes and arthritis, wanted to complete the sponsored walk to raise money for a gym at the hospital which is used by the stroke rehabilitation unit, where staff have helped her to get back on her feet.
She said: “I wanted to do something for the unit because they have helped me so much. The walk is not very far, but for me it is a massive achievement.
“I’m not doing too bad at the moment – you just have to keep going and do the best you can.”
Although Kath knows she will probably never get full mobility back, she has learned to cope with limited ability and has mastered everyday tasks such as peeling potatoes and drying the dishes.
She said: “I’ve never been one for sitting down. I was always on the go, so now I just try to do as much as I can and keep trying.”
In early 2006, just hours after enjoying a night out with friends, Kath was fighting for her life in an operating theatre having suffered a cerebral aneurysm bleed in her brain.
Doctors saved her, but she suffered a stroke on the operating table and was left without feeling down her left side, unable to walk or talk.
During the following 18 months, in which time she suffered a second stroke, Kath faced a painful uphill struggle to regain her mobility.
Then, at the end of 2008, Kath suffered a further two strokes, which again left her unable to walk at all and it was a further year before she could stand and walk a short distance.
Since then Kath has suffered a further two strokes, but thankfully they were a lot less severe.