A mum-of-two who suffered a stroke when she was just 30 has been honoured for her courage, determination and fundraising.
Berni Cooper, now 33, was looking after her 14-month-old-son at home when she had a stroke in 2011.
She was working as a police officer at the time and was fit and healthy.
The keen runner, from Sandal, said: “I suddenly felt dizzy and collapsed. I wanted to get up off the floor but couldn’t move or feel my left side. I realised my left arm looked completely limp and as if it wasn’t a part of me. I felt sick as it slumped to the floor when I let go of it. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget.”
With her son crying next to her, Mrs Cooper managed to call an ambulance and arrived at hospital in time to receive the clot-busting treatment, thrombolysis.
She regained the movement in her arm relatively quickly, and with physiotherapy and support from the Stroke Association she has no lasting physical effects. But the emotional impact of the stroke hit her the hardest. It took over a year for her to get over the overwhelming exhaustion caused by her stroke.
Just two years after her stroke, Mrs Cooper pursued her passion for running and completed the Birmingham Half Marathon in October 2013 to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association. She then went on to run the Yorkshire Marathon in October 2014. Her biggest challenge followed this year when she won a competition to run the London Marathon dressed as an apple.
She was honoured for her endeavours earlier this month with a Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association.
Mrs Cooper said: “I genuinely feel like I have my life back but I now feel much more appreciative of everything. Through the support I received from the Stroke Association and my experiences, I’ve learnt a lot more about stroke and it humbles me to see the extremely different levels of recovery people have to go through. It feels brilliant to be nominated for a Life After Stroke Award and helps me appreciate just how far I’ve come.”
She received a certificate from Stroke Association regional director Julia MacLeod in Worksop on December 1.
A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. It is caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are more than 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.
The Stroke Association charity work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers. They also engage with health and social care professionals, scientists and researchers. It funds research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke helpline, 0303 303 3100, also provides information and support. More information can be found at www.stroke.org.uk.