Stroke survivor Kate Allatt discusses what’s getting her back to normality

editorial image

WRITER and stroke survivor Kate Allatt publishes her second book this weekend. Gonna Fly Now! is the funny, moving and inspirational account of the 18 months following the brain stem stroke that left her ‘locked in’ – aware of everything going on around her, but unable to move anything except her eyes.

WRITER and stroke survivor Kate Allatt publishes her second book this weekend. Gonna Fly Now! is the funny, moving and inspirational account of the 18 months following the brain stem stroke that left her ‘locked in’ – aware of everything going on around her, but unable to move anything except her eyes.

Kate, 41, a Dore mum of three and former PR officer and fell runner, has followed up her first book, Running Free, with this new work, to be published on Sunday.

Billed as ‘locked-in laughter unleashed’, it tells how Kate used humour as a coping mechanism to deal with her new, post-stroke life.

Cartoons drawn by an artist friend depict the challenges she endured, from wearing nappies and learning to write again to mastering a Zimmer frame.

“It reveals all my highs and lows,” says Kate. “Worrying that my husband would see himself as my carer rather than my partner… Coping with strangers’ reactions as I seized life again and shook off the ‘disabled’ label… Hiding behind Facebook, rather than confronting the real world.”

The book also touches on her work as a speaker and campaigner for Fighting Strokes, the charity she set up in the wake of her illness.

And it shows how her love of life, her family and the area where she lives has spurred her on to become the person she is today.

Gonna Fly Now! is dedicated to all stroke survivors. Self-published, it is available from Amazon or www.gonnaflynowbook.com, priced £7.99.

Blacka Moor benches

Sunday 6.09pm on February 7, 2010 was the moment my life changed forever. After the initial 16 weeks of utter desperation and hopelessness, I was inspired to fight back to fitness, with a large amount of inspiration from Rocky, the famous ‘80s boxing character. The theme tune played over and over in my head as my pain-riddled body lay motionless for hours on end and I willed my limbs to move. But just two years later, I had progressed sufficiently to achieve my goal – of walking the route I used to run, to my favourite bench half way up Blacka Moor. I jumped for joy and relief as I reached my target for the first time and it seemed apt that my phone was playing the Rocky ringtone – which also inspired the name of my new book.

Virgin Active, Millhouses

This has been my home five times a week since October 2010. I am indebted to my personal trainer, Mike Lee, and the old Esporta manager, Alistair Kennedy. They gave me my second chance and it was my stroke of luck!

This place gives me solace, a cardio workout and my daily skinny medium latte which I adore! It’s my escape; my home from home – and my husband, Mark, encourages me because it also means I’m not out giving the Visa card a bashing at Meadowhall!

Treasure hunts up the Limb Valley

We are trying to restore normality as a family. So, equipped with Moshi Monster toys and copious sweets, I go out and hide ‘treasure’ along the Limb Valley during the school day – which motivates our reluctant kids to share an otherwise boring family walk with us when they get in! It’s a happy time and we always end up sharing a bowl of chips at Ringinglow too.

The Peaks

I ran 1.5km in the Sheffield Percy Pud race but even such a short run dash in the fells was significant to me; it meant I’d finally arrived home in my beloved Peak District where I’d spent so many happy hours in the past. All my relentless pushing could finally stop and I could get better organically from then on. I’d been angry and in denial, whereas now I have accepted who I am. And there’s nothing I like better than getting out in the countryside.

Strines and Stanage Edge

One of my favourite Saturday mornings used to be driving to Strines and running the ten miles back over Stanage Edge with my best friends Jaq and Anita. No kids, no husband, no stress, just gossip and fresh air with the beautiful countryside for two hours. We used to put the world to rights every weekend.

Local pub

My life is hectic these days, especially with the charity, books and family and my new career as an inspirational speaker. I admit it, but that’s the way I am – I love and I need to be busy. I really enjoy turning my severe negative into a positive and giving other family, friends and medics an insight into my experience.

But I know how to enjoy myself too and I’m now learning to relax and switch off.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a Friday night out at one of the local pubs, with great company, a glass of Cava, a curry and Mark.