Stroke survivor mounts challenge to get out lifesaving message

Stroke survivor John-Lee Lydon is to host a seven-hour awareness challenge, with business partner Michael Williamson, right.
Stroke survivor John-Lee Lydon is to host a seven-hour awareness challenge, with business partner Michael Williamson, right.

A gym boss who fought his way back to health after a stroke is to lead a seven-hour challenge to push out a life-saving message to save others.

John-Lee Lydon, 37, was working as a fitness coach helping people across Sunderland recover and improve their physical condition when he fell ill six years ago.

If it wasn’t for my work colleagues and their actions, it might have been too late.

John-Lee Lydon

The quick actions of his colleagues - who recognisedthe signs of a stroke - meant he was given vital medical attention swiftly.

Now the dad-of-two is to give his thanks to the Stroke Association for the help it offered him and his family as he recovered, with his left side affected following on from the attack.

Investigations found he also had a hole in his heart, which has been repaired through surgery, and he had completed four Great North Runs, although the stroke has had a long term impact on his cognitive skills and leaves him easily tired.

He was off work for around 18 months, but has worked towards building his own business alongside pals Michael Williamson and Gavin Cogon, a player for South Shields FC, running Crossfit Tailored Training in Sedling Road in Washington.

On Saturday from 8.30am, 18 teams of four will start to complete a half marathon run, another on an assault bike, a rowing machine and a ski machine.

While they will raise funds for the charity, John-Lee says the most important thing for him is to push out the message of the FAST campaign.

This tells people to look out for the warning signs of a stroke:

*Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?

*Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?

*Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?

*Time: If you see any of these three signs, it’s time to call 999.

John-Lee, who lives in Ayton with wife Lesley, 33, and children Jack, 10, and Sophie, seven, said: “What I want to do is use this to raise awareness.

“I’ve done things for the Stroke Association before, but what I’m looking to do with the FAST Weekender is get the message across that a stroke can happen to you at any age.

“If it wasn’t for my work colleagues and their actions, it might have been too late.

“It was a week before my daughter’s first birthday and I’m just so thankful to the Stroke Association for its help, which got me back to work and helped me digest it and gave me and my family support, it’s a charity close to my heart.”

Anyone who would like to back the event can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/crossfit-tailored-training to donate and find out more.

Information about the work of the Stroke Association and more about the warning signs of a stroke can visit www.stroke.org.uk/.