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Englund completes epic journey to fight stroke

Tania and Dan Englund celebrated the end of Englund's journey for stroke research. Englund is a former Alexandrian who has relatives in the area, including his twin brother, David Englund. (Contributed photo)

­­Editor's note: The Echo Press printed a story, "Stroke survivor in for a long run down under," on August 1 that featured former Alexandrian Dan Englund's attempt to raise money and awareness for stroke research. His goal was to run 1,000 kilometers (about 621 miles) from Emerald, Australia to Brisbane. The newspaper has since learned that he successfully completed the run and raised more than $40,000. The National Stroke Foundation provided this follow-up story on Englund's accomplishment:

Monday, September 10 was the first day of National Stroke Week and the day Dan Englund completed an epic 1,000 km running journey. That journey, a personal best, saw Dan raise more than $40,000 for the National Stroke Foundation and raise unparalleled awareness of stroke - its causes, prevention and treatment - in more than 20 rural communities in Queensland.

On May 16, 2011 Dan had a stroke. Dan was a 38-year-old family man and an avid runner. He had no idea that he was a candidate for stroke. No idea that he would be among the one in six people who have a stroke in their lifetime.

Dan had a stroke while he was at home. His wife Tania recognized the signs of her husband's stroke very quickly because she had seen and paid attention to the heavily promoted FAST campaign - a campaign that involves remembering one simple acronym, FAST. Face - has their mouth drooped? Arms - can they raise both arms? Speech - Is their speech slurred, can they understand you? And Time - call an ambulance (triple zero) immediately. Do not delay.

Dan was transferred by helicopter from a hospital in his remote home town of Emerald to Brisbane's Wesley Hospital within the day.

"After three days in the Wesley Hospital, I was told that I had a hole in my heart since birth that allowed a blood clot to pass through and caused an ischemic stroke," says Dan.

Dan has made a strong recovery since May 16, 2011 thanks to a number of factors including his prompt admission into hospital, the life-saving surgery that prompt admission allowed, and his own, very personal and dedicated rehabilitation regime.

During August, Dan ran from Emerald to the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, an important personal journey that retraced the distance he travelled after his stroke in 2011. Along the way Dan visited many regional towns to meet with community members at every stop and share his story of stroke and survival.

On the 10th of September, Dan was greeted at the Wesley Hospital with well-deserved fanfare - he picked up quite a fan club along the way - including the doctor who treated him, local and national media, and many friends and staff from the National Stroke Foundation. He ran the final leg of his run with Channel Nine News reporter Andrew Lofthouse and Stroke Foundation Business Operations Manager Anita Mitchell.

When asked about his run, Dan says, "I would like to tell everyone I meet that a stroke is not just for certain people. Anyone in the world is able to suffer just like I did. I would like to educate the public on how to reduce their chance of having a stroke and to know the signs of someone who is having one."

He has certainly gone a long way to achieve his goal. At the National Stroke Foundation, we tip our hats to this extraordinary journey.