Putting pedal to the metal for RLI stroke ward

Phil Woodford, the associate director of corporate affairs at University Hospital, Morecambe has taken part in a 200 mile trike ride in Holland
Phil Woodford, the associate director of corporate affairs at University Hospital, Morecambe has taken part in a 200 mile trike ride in Holland

A hospital worker from Garstang, who suffered a stroke just a year ago, has raised £1,400 after completing a 200 mile recumbent trike ride in Holland.

Phil Woodford, the associate director of corporate affairs at University Hospital, Morecambe put the pedal to the metal to raise money for the stroke rehab ward at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Phil completed three months of rehabilitation on Ward 23 after his stroke, aged just 45. As well as the gruelling cycle he took part in the superhero triathlon series for people with a disability in Windsor in August.

Phil said: “I remain devastated that I had a stroke at the age of 45. It changes not just the survivor’s life overnight but also their families. I had two strokes over one weekend and doctors think they were probably the side effect of prescribed medication for arthritis.

“As a result, I’ve been left with a very weak left side of my body and some mental health challenges, such as depression and some elements of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I had the second stroke in the Royal Preston Hospital and the quick thinking of a nurse called Beth saved my life. However, the rehabilitation at the RLI also helped me to stay alive.

“I took the decision to ask to be transferred to the RLI as I was extremely frightened and I wanted to be around people I knew and closer to home and my family.

“As bonkers as it sounds, as a manager at the Trust, I felt I should demonstrate how much I trust my colleagues and receive my care there -something I believe strongly in. The care was incredible, and I wanted to give something back, hence I did the fundraising as my own way of saying thank you.”

Approximately 62,000 unnecessary deaths from stroke and heart attacks occur due to poor blood pressure control. High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms; the only way for people to know if they have the condition is to have their blood pressure measured.

In 2015, there were 605 strokes in the Morecambe Bay area with the total healthcare and social care costs for this local group of patients being £13.4 million in 2015/16 - rising to £27.4 million over five years.