Hannah Holland, 23, from Harrogate
Hannah Holland, 23, from Harrogate

“You just have to get on with it” says young stroke survivor as she gears up for the Great North Run

22 March 2023

Hannah Holland, 23, from Harrogate is taking on the AJ Bell Great North Run for the Stroke Association on Sunday 10 September 2023, after a stroke when she was just 19.

Hannah, a fashion student at the University of Manchester had been experiencing pins and needles and knew something wasn’t right but was told it was just a trapped nerve when she attended A and E. Days later, a colleague noticed Hannah’s face was drooping and after going to bed, Hannah discovered she couldn’t even move her left side.

Hannah said:

I got up to go to the toilet and just couldn’t even grip the toilet paper. I couldn’t get back upstairs either, I had to slide and do the worm to get up the stairs and just went back to sleep.

After being rushed to hospital the next morning, Hannah and her parents had to wait for a long time as emergency staff thought she may be “too young to have a stroke” according to Hannah. However, MRI scans soon confirmed the worst and Hannah had to spend more than two weeks in hospital undergoing intensive physio and occupational therapy.

Following her stay in hospital, Hannah says her parents influence and encouragement helped get her going again.

To sponsor Hannah, visit – greatnorthrun2023.enthuse.com/pf/hannah-holland

Hannah said:

My mum and dad looked at me and said, ‘come on, you’re not moping around.’ I’d lost loads of weight but I was fit and healthy before so they encouraged me to get back to the gym and build my strength – especially in my arm and left side.

I was like, I’m 19, I’m going back to university. My housemates were so shocked that this had happened to me. I got used to things, I just had to sleep more when they went out sometimes.

I’m doing the run with my Mum this year. She’s been amazing but I still want to see her suffer like I did last year. I want to raise awareness of stroke in younger people and the dangers of the contraceptive pill too, I want to prove to people that I can still whatever I want to do after my Stroke. You just have to get on with it.

Hannah was so determined to not let stroke define her that she even returned to university as soon as she could.

Now Hannah, who took part in the Great North Run last year, wants to help spread awareness of stroke in younger people and to prove what you can still achieve following a stroke.

Emma Daley, Events Manager at the Stroke Association, said:

The Great North Run is dubbed the world’s biggest and best half marathon challenge and everyone at the charity is right behind you.

There are around 100,000 strokes every year in the UK and 1.3 million people are living with the devastating impact of stroke. We believe that everyone deserves to live the best life they can after stroke and we’re grateful to Hannah for taking on this famous challenge to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association.

A stroke can happen to anyone at any time and it turns lives upside down. However, with the support of people like Hannah we can help more stroke survivors and their families as they rebuild their lives.

For more information and to sign up, email greatnorthrun@stroke.org.uk or visit www.stroke.org.uk/events/sporting-fundraising/greatnorthrun


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