A brain haemorrhage survivor will make the 565-mile trip from Walton-on-Thames to the Highlands to take part in this year’s Baxters Loch Ness Marathon on 24 September. After suffering a potentially fatal brain haemorrhage, Stuart McFadyen now appreciates more than most that life is for living and makes sure he lives every day to the full.
In July 2013 Stuart was working in Afghanistan when, without any signs or symptoms, he collapsed. The 49-year-old had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage and traumatic brain injury, the prognosis for which was not good. Stuart was in a coma for 10 days and two months after his haemorrhage he was transferred from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRTs) in Ely where he underwent an intense course of rehabilitation, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, to restore his cognitive abilities.
After four months, he was allowed home from hospital, and five months after that he was back behind his desk at his job as a civil servant in London’s Whitehall. With a determination to overcome his illness and the support of a first-class team of medical professionals, Stuart has made a full recovery.
Stuart says, “In my follow-up appointment with the consultant one year after my haemorrhage had happened I was given a clean bill of health, there were no repercussions and I was fighting fit again. The consultant does not need to see me again unless any concerns arise.
“Running has always been a big passion of mine. I did two marathons before my haemorrhage and during my recovery running was a big incentive – getting back running was my aim and a big driving factor.”
Last year he celebrated his recovery to physical fitness by running in the London Marathon, completing the course in four hours 37 mins and raising £860 for Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon is another opportunity for Stuart to raise funds for the hospital which remains a cause close to his heart, given the marvellous work of the health professionals who helped him on the road to recovery.
Stuart is also looking forward to sampling the Scottish scenery: “This is one part of Scotland that I have never been to and I did my research and the course looks fantastic. I’ve done the London Marathon twice and Brighton Marathon once so this will be quite different and it will be nice to be in the wilderness of northern Scotland.
“Four years ago, when I was lying in a coma who could have known that I would be able to run 26.2 miles again? I’ve been lucky as I have no lasting side effects and I put that down to running having kept me fit and healthy. I’m even more aware of my health now, after what I’ve been through and because I’m not getting any younger.
“This year’s Loch Ness Marathon is another way for me to celebrate my recovery and raise money for a fantastic cause.”
To enter this year's race, visit the Loch Ness Marathon website.