A STROKE survivor who defied doctors to take her first steps after a health ordeal is determined to walk down the aisle.
Videographer Donna Watson, 26, had a massive stroke in February 2013, just five months after giving birth to daughter Millie Alice.
The stroke changed her life completely and left her paralysed down the right hand side of her body.
She had also lost the ability to swallow, and her speech, hearing and vision were also severely affected.
Against doctors’ expectations, Donna refused to give up and walked out of hospital with a walking stick three months later.
While she still has a long way to go on her road to recovery, Donna, from Peterlee, aims to walk unaided down the aisle at her wedding to fiancé Nicky King in the Lake District next July.
Now Donna and Nicky have been awarded Highly Commended Life After Stroke certificates – Donna the Adult Courage award and Nicky the Carer prize – from the Stroke Association for showing immense courage.
Donna, who completed the Step out for Stoke fundraising walk in Gateshead, with the aid of Millie Alice’s pushchair, said: “When I had my stroke, I called Nicky who found me at home and called 999 immediately. Nicky travelled 40 minutes every day to visit me in hospital with Millie and helped me with my speech and coordination.
“When I returned home, Nicky walked with me daily and helped me with my exercises, cooking me healthy meals and helping to get both myself and Millie ready each day.
“He booked us a minibreak and we visited our wedding venue where he promised me I would walk down the aisle. We have our daily struggles but he always surprises me and keeps me upbeat. He has been a lifesaver in more ways than one. I have a long journey ahead but I know I’m not alone.”
Peter Moore, regional head of operations for the Stroke Association, said the awards highlight “tremendous courage” shown in rebuilding lives after a stroke.
For more information about stroke, call 0303 3033100 or visit www.stroke.org.uk