A MUM who was left unable to walk after a stroke has told how she made a remarkable recovery.

Kirsty Smith from Port Glasgow was a fit and healthy 29-year-old who enjoyed running to keep fit when her life was suddenly turned upside down.

She became seriously ill after a seemingly innocuous accident and was stunned when doctors told her what had happened.

Kirsty had to undergo an intense rehabilitation programme of physiotherapy and exercise just to learn to walk again and she later returned to work.

Now the inspirational 46-year-old is set to take on a tough charity challenge to help others affected by stroke, reports our sister title The Greenock Telegraph

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Glasgow Times:

Kirsty's life changed in October 2002 after she fell and banged her head.

She said: "I was 29 and I was fit and I had just started getting into running a bit more, as I was planning to do a half marathon to mark my 30th.

"One day I had a accident when I fell and banged my head on a wooden floor.

"After that I had pain at the back of my head but I didn't think to get it checked."

Exactly a week after the fall, Kirsty suddenly became seriously unwell.

She said: "I started to lose my eyesight, so I knew something was wrong.

"The emergency doctor came out to see me and he sent me to InverclydeRoyal Hospital.

"I was then sent up to the Southern General for scans, which showed that I'd had a stroke.

"The fall had torn the artery at the back of my head and that bled, which caused a clot to form in the artery."

Kirsty said it came as a huge shock.

She added: "Being the age I was, I had obviously heard of strokes but I assumed it only happened to older people and I didn't really know what it was.

"I was thinking 'I'm not going to be okay in a week or two'.

"My speech was fine but I couldn't move the whole left side of my body, so I had to learn how to walk again."

Kirsty then faced an intensive rehab programme and she had to move back in with her parents.

Just six months later, she was back at work on a phased return and determined to get on with her life.

She said: "The timeframe is that after 18 months, your recovery plateaus, so the way you are is the way you're going to be."

Kirsty still has lasting effects from the stroke including numbness in her fingers and toes but she has never let them hold her back.

She said: "When I went back to work, I struggled to go down stairs at the train station.

"My brain didn't know how to walk down the stairs.

"I had to retrain my brain."

Kirsty, who works as a personal assistant, got her life back on track and started a family.

She has three beautiful children - Aaron, 13, Campbell, six, and Alexander, three.

She is keen to raise awareness that strokes can happen to young people but also that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Kirsty said: "It's not the end of the world.

"It has never held me back in any way.

"I'm definitely a stronger person after going through that."

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Now 17 years on, the courageous mum-of-three is poised to mark a major milestone in her recovery.

She has decided to take part in the Resolution Run - an event in aid of the Stroke Association in Glasgow Green in March.

Kirsty said: "This is my first fundraising event since my stroke.

"I will be walking rather than running, but I believe it will be worthwhile kick-starting my exercise regime and I am really looking forward to it.

"I also want to raise awareness of stroke and the fact it can happen to younger people.

"I am proud to do the Resolution Run as a stroke survivor.

"I will maybe try running a wee bit too.

"I think I will feel very proud of myself when I reach the finish line."

Kirsty Scott, fundraising manager at the Stroke Association in Scotland, hopes Kirsty's story will inspire more people to sign up for the run.

She said: “Stroke recovery is a marathon not a sprint, and each recovery is as individual as each survivor.

"The Resolution Run is the perfect opportunity to mark a milestone in your own stroke recovery, show your support for a friend or family member affected by stroke, or in memory of a loved one. "

The run is on Sunday, March 15 and you can sign up at www.resolutionrun.org.uk