WHEN keen cyclist Michael Maddison had a stroke he was left with balance problems and weakness down the right side of his body.
The 71-year-old was unsure he would be able to get back on his bike but four years on he is getting ready to attempt a 55-mile fundraising challenge.
Michael, from Gosport, is taking on the Stroke Association’s Thames Bridges Bike Ride which sees cyclists travel along the River Thames crossing all 17 bridges.
He said: ‘I was fairly fit at the time of my stroke which I think helped with my recovery.
‘Within four months I was back on my beloved bike and I discovered that my balance problems seemed better when I was riding.
‘Last year I set myself the target to ride 4,500 miles, and I did it.
‘I couldn’t had done it without the amazing support from the Stroke Association and the treatment I received at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
‘I wanted to do something to say thank you to everyone who’s been there for me in my recovery.’
The Thames Bridges Bike Ride, being held on October 1, will start at Kings House Sports Ground in Chiswick and participants can take part in a 55, 35 or eight-mile circular route.
Emma Evans, events manager at the Stroke Association, said: ‘With around 1.2m people across the UK living with the devastating impact of stroke, it is vital that we have people like Michael at our Thames Bridges Bike Ride to raise funds and help us conquer stroke.
‘The money raised will fund vital research and support for stroke survivors, as well as help to prevent people from having a stroke.
‘We’re delighted that Michael has made such a great recovery from his stroke and is taking on the challenge for us.’
As well as taking part in the cycle ride, Michael joined the Stroke Association voluntary support group in Stubbington, where he met other stroke survivors and carers.
He added: ‘Joining the group was a huge turning point in my recovery.
‘I realised I wasn’t alone and speaking to other stroke survivors really helped me.
‘I now volunteer at the support group in Stubbington and really enjoy it.’
To donate to Michael visit justgiving.com/fundraising/michael-maddison6.