STROKE survivors, friends and family walked in unison to show that they won’t be held back.
Around 70 people gathered at Canoe Lake in Southsea on Saturday to walk for the Stroke Association.
Many of those at the event suffered strokes in the past, or were walking on behalf of someone else.
The event – now in its fourth year – cost £6 for people to take part and saw a group walk round Canoe Lake as many times as they liked or were physically able to do.
Everyone who took part was also given a Stroke Association T-shirt.
Joan White, 67 from Portchester, had a stroke three years ago.
Taking part for a second year, Joan says that she has seen some improvement in her condition since she suffered the stroke.
She said: ‘The recovery was slow at the beginning because I’d had a brain aneurism.
‘It is still a bit difficult to move the left side of my body – putting shoes on is a nightmare, but I’m getting there.
‘I felt fine during the walk though. I can walk much better now and am very thankful for that.
‘It’s great that we’re able to get out and enjoy a walk around Canoe Lake with one another.
‘All the hospital staff from Southampton and QA were fantastic – if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would be here.’
Joan’s husband, 71-year-old Mick White, joined her on the walk.
He said: ‘We did the walk last year as well.
‘It’s been better than we thought – in the early stages of her recovery we thought she would struggle, but here we are today.’
Complete strangers bonded over the opportunity to meet with other stroke survivors and share stories with one another.
One of those taking part was Christine Dance, 64, from Hilsea.
She said: ‘I did the walk for my partner, who had a stroke last July.
‘He had a very rare stroke and although he didn’t lose any mobility he ended up very unstable due to the brain injury.
‘At the moment he’s going through rehabilitation in Southampton so I wanted to do this for him.
‘It’s tough because there’s a grieving process to go through – they’re not the same person but I still love him regardless.’
Regional fundraiser for the Stroke Association, Tammy Angus, said that events like this are important for uniting stroke survivors and getting them outside.
She said: ‘The stroke walk around Canoe Lake has been a really lovely event.
‘Watching so many stroke survivors walk round the lake together, sharing their stories and showing they are still able people – it’s incredibly inspirational.
‘We have people that have taken part every year since this event started, and others that are a bit newer to the walk – but everyone gets stuck in and everyone talks to each other.
‘After a stroke it can be difficult to see and measure any form of physical improvement, so events like this really help people to feel better about themselves.
‘To have so many people continuing to support us and support each other is simply incredible.
‘It’s so important to have events like this because when people have a stroke they come back into a much more challenging world. This event gets them back on their feet.’