Riding all the way to Rio to help stroke victims

Staff and patients at the QA stroke centre with the brand new rehabilitation bikes 
							             Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Staff and patients at the QA stroke centre with the brand new rehabilitation bikes Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

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INSPIRED by the Rio Olympics, a hospital’s stroke nursing team set themselves the challenge of cycling 4,660 miles – on static bikes.

Putting in shifts of up to 12 hours each, the team, and some extra volunteers, rode the equivalent of travelling from Portsmouth to Rio de Janeiro.

The huge challenge was set to raise money for new equipment for the Cosham unit.

As well as the cycling they also held a bake sale, pub quiz and raffle, supported by local businesses such as Portsmouth Football Club and the Mountbatten Centre.

Through their tireless efforts, staff and volunteers managed to raise more than £8,500.

That was enough to buy two new rehabilitation bikes and an arm machine.

Physiotherapist Harriet Herbert did a 12-hour cycling stint.

She said: ‘We were absolutely awe-inspired by the outpouring of support from patients and staff.

‘It was so wonderful to receive this and be able to get not just one but two bikes as we were not sure we would be able to cover the cost of one.’

As patients began testing the bikes, Harriet explained how they will benefit patients.

She said: ‘When you’re in a bed for a long time, your ability to move and exercise decreases, so giving patients access to a cycling machine allows them to get the benefits of exercise in a supportive way.

‘It also helps our patients rehabilitate their stroke-affected area.

‘These machines can measure how much pressure you are putting on each side, so it encourages the limb that isn’t as strong to work harder and in tandem with the other one.

‘It’s a very versatile, clever piece of equipment to support all patients.’

You can still support the unit by making a donation to the Portsmouth Hospitals Charity.

To make a donation call Paula Lang on (023) 9228 6000, ext 5164.

Alternatively, go to porthosp.nhs.uk/get-involved/fundraising/donate.htm.