A thankful Dan Englund relaxes with his family Ava, Tania and Wyatt.
A thankful Dan Englund relaxes with his family Ava, Tania and Wyatt.

Meet Emerald's stroke victim hero

MONDAY, September 10, will be an emotional day for Dan Englund and his family.

That is the day he will walk up to the check-in desk at the Brisbane Wesley Hospital, the same desk he was admitted to on a stretcher when he suffered a stroke that paralysed his left side just over a year ago.

"I will have run 1000km to get to that desk and say, 'look what you guys have done'," Dan said.

"I'm not rich but I can give them something."

On Saturday, August 4, Dan and his family are setting off on a 1000km run to raise awareness of strokes and spread his thanks, hope, encouragement and inspiration to other stroke survivors.

"The stroke run is to tell (stroke survivors) you will get better," Dan said. "You can learn to use previously unused sections of the brain. I am walking proof something reconnected.

"It's not luck that within a year I went from crawling to running 40-60km a day.

"One thing that will get me though this run is to remember everyone is going through this exhaustion stage during stroke recovery."

It will take Dan 35 days to run from Emerald to the Wesley Hospital and he said about 5000 people would have a stroke during that time.

"Eighty per cent of strokes are avoidable if people get their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars checked. Know your numbers," he urged.

"The run is to educate the public about strokes and to tell everyone it can happen to anyone.

"That's why it's important to watch your health. People need to know it's going to happen; it's an honest fact.

"Healthy people have strokes - don't think you are immune, one in six will have a stroke this year."

Dan will raise money for the National Stroke Foundation and said he was also proud to raise awareness of the Wesley Hospital.

"I want to emphasise the people that helped me. They are my heroes," he said.

"They gave me back my health - they need the recognition and the praise.

"The physios, the ambos, doctors, the staff who clean the rooms - never forget the health care worker. It's because of them I can go to hospital and feel confident they will make me feel better."

Follow Dan's Facebook page, on facebook.com/dansfastrun.

Riley: 14, sporty and a stroke victim

By Kaitlyn Gutzke

ON February 4, Riley Liddington woke up, got dressed, ate his breakfast, then had a stroke.

Five months, three brain surgeries and two hospitals later, 14-year-old Riley is back home in Emerald after doctors discovered a brain bleed caused by an arteriovenous malformation, a cluster of abnormal blood vessels.

Riley's father Jason said he was happy to have the family back together after the terrifying ordeal.

"It was very traumatic - he got up from the breakfast table, said he couldn't feel his left side and then just fell in a heap on the floor," Jason said.

Riley was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital.

"He spent three months in Brisbane and six weeks in Sydney where he had three operations in three weeks," Jason said.

"We had an awesome bunch of friends and family who have helped us get through all this.

"We're over hospitals, hopefully never again - but never say never."


Riley's final surgery was June 4 on his 14th birthday and, although he needs physiotherapy for his left arm and leg, he is determined to regain his sporty self.

"The only thing stopping me now is just my left side ... I can't wait to play footy, ride motorbikes - all the good stuff," he said.

Riley will head to Brisbane next month to cross the line with fellow stroke victim Dan Englund as he completes his FAST Run.

"I might run to Brisbane when I get better and I might write a book too," he said.

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