A superfit runner who had a stroke aged just 55 which left her paralysed is training for a marathon a year later.
Carole Fortune, 56, suffered a terrifying stroke and was found on her bedroom floor unable to move, by her daughter, in October 2019.
She knew immediately what was happening as she was paralysed down her left hand side, and terrified daughter Jade, 24, could see her mum’s face had drooped.
Jade dialled 999 and Carole was rushed to hospital and given a wonder drug – which could have either caused a fatal haemorrage or saved her life.
Within an hour, she was able to wave at Jade and younger child Ryan, 16, from her hospital bed at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
And determined Carole, who had run 41 marathons by the time she became ill, was keen to get her life back despite being terrified of going out by herself.
She is now training for a marathon on the Pentland Hills on October 4.
Carole said: “I was in Lanzarote doing a volcanic run and I fell and cut my leg, which needed stitches, and I came home three weeks later.
“I lost a lot of blood and I had a four-and-a-half hour flight home.
“It was never proved that was the reason but I’m convinced I had a blood clot.
“I was in bed and I must have turned to get out of bed, and I found myself on the bedroom floor, I tried to push myself up but I couldn’t.
“I had to shout for my daughter, I couldn’t get up off the floor.
“She saw the left hand side of my face had drooped and phoned an ambulance.”
She was rushed to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and given thrombolysis, through an IV drip.
Within 45 minutes of being given the ‘miracle blood clot buster’ her face had returned to normal and Carole was able to wave at her children.
And in two days she was released from hospital, and was determined to start walking again – although she was afraid to go out without a friend.
Before the stroke Carole had been going to the gym three times a week and was running five times a week, which she believes massively helped her recovery.
Carole said: “It was a full stroke, I was paralysed down my left hand side and couldn’t move my left hand arm or leg.
“Within 45 minutes of being given the drug my face had gone back up and I was able to wave to my kids – it is a matter of how long before they can give you medication.
“I was within the window, and I don’t know how I would have got across the floor that night to reach my phone, I was so lucky that night.
“My voice comes and goes and sometimes I forget to breathe.
“I would go out for walks with a friend, I was so scared it would happen again.
“The first two weeks are high risk and I was absolutely terrified.”
Jade, who works as a bank teller, took time off to look after her mum.
Beautician Carole began going back to work at her home in Edinburgh two weeks later, carrying out less physically demanding treatments.
But she was constantly exhausted, and needed physiotherapy and speech therapy which was provided by charity Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.
Although she got her confidence back enough to start running again Carole fell and dislocated her knee, but was determined not to be put off.
She will run the virtual London Marathon to raise cash for the charity which helped her on October 4, a route from the Pentland Hills to Dolphinton, Lanarkshire, which has 5,000 ft elevation.
It is her 42nd marathon, and 16th London Marathon.
Carole said: “I’m back up running four times a week, and in the lockdown I was out every day.
“I ran all the way up Princes Street, through the Royal Mile, there were no cars, it was amazing, it was the chance of a lifetime.
“I was so lucky, my face is back to normal, I was paralysed for an hour and an MRI scan showed a blood clot to the left hand side of my brain.
“I couldn’t move my arm or my leg on the left hand side but if you can get to hospital quickly enough they can do something.
“I just thought ‘it is not going to stop me, I am going to get my life back’.”
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Carole-FORTUNE