Stroke victim Emma to take part in Warboys charity bike ride

A 27-YEAR-OLD will be joining friends and family for a charity cycle ride on Sunday almost exactly a year after suffering a stroke which left her unable to walk, speak or swallow.

Around 90 cyclists will be taking to the roads around Huntingdonshire for an 18-mile trek in aid of the neurological science ward and the Lewin Stroke and Rehabilitaton Centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Joining them will be Emma Townsend who hopes to complete the course in a four-wheel recumbent trike.

Emma, of Station Road, Warboys, suffered a stroke and bleeding during a routine biopsy operation at the end of August 2010.

At the time doctors did not know if she would ever walk or talk again.

But after undergoing months of arduous chemotherapy treatment and rehabilitation, Emma was released from hospital with some mobility and full speech in February.

Though she continues to suffer poor balance, the Cambridgeshire County Council highways officer was determined to take part in the ride.

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Thanks to her auntie who suggested getting a KMX trike, Emma is hoping to realise that dream.

Her sister Sally Smith, 30, said: “We never thought we would see her getting on a bike again.

“The bike has four wheels and is a cross between a go-kart and a bike. It has a fully supportive seat. Emma has been going out training with it.

“I don’t think she will be able to complete all of the ride, but she will definitely get round as much as she can.”

Emma was admitted to Addenbrooke’s after tests revealed lesions on her brain which were affecting her sense of balance and her vision.

Following her stroke, Emma had to go undergo chemotherapy to reduce the size of the lesions.

Physiotherapy helped her to slowly regain the use of her left leg and arm, and she had to learn how to form words again.

Around 30 doctors and nurses, who have helped Emma during her recovery, will be taking part in the ride.

The cyclists will set off from Warboys Sport and Social Club at 11am and pass through Bury, Upwood, Raveley, Wennington, Abbotts Ripton and Wistow before making their way back to the club in Warboys, where from 12pm there will be a family fun day, with a bouncy castle, barbecue, garden games, face painting, raffle and lucky dip.

In May Emma, Sally and mum Kathryn held a craft fair at Warboys WI hall which raised over �1000 for the hospital, and the family are keen to add to that total.

Sally said: “We want people to come out and support the riders on their way round. There will be marshall stations set up along the route with buckets on the table, so if people want to come and give a donation or take part in the family fun day, they will be welcome.”

She added the support so far had been overwhelming. “We have had lots of people that can’t do the bike ride or do not want to do the bike, who have offered to come and help with the fun day.

“We would especially like to thank Lime Tree Printing in Oldhurst, Ab-fab events in Ramsey, Huntingdon Garden and Leisure, Thompson Grill and local haulage company Swannell Transport who are bringing their trailer along.”