Three years ago, Paul Fisher couldn’t even walk as he began the long road to recovery after two severe strokes which almost killed him.
But now, the 58-year-old from Snettisham is planning to take part in a five kilometre fun run on Hunstanton’s beach later this month to raise funds for the Stroke Association.
He said: “They have been so good to me. I want to give something back.”
Before his illness, Paul spent 30 years working for the RSPB, eventually becoming its regional operations manager for East Anglia.
But his life was turned upside down in September 2011 when he suffered the first of two serious strokes.
That was soon followed by a second, more serious, stroke, which was caused by a brain haemorrhage, which nearly cost him his life.
He was put into a medically-induced coma and spent several weeks in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge before being transferred to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he had rehabilitation care in the West Raynham ward.
During his time in hospital, he underwent surgery which replaced part of his skull with a titanium plate.
And he said that without the support of both the NHS and the Stroke Association, he would not be alive and happy today.
He said: “They say rocket scientists are clever, but give me a brain surgeon any day.
“The Stroke Association helped me make the journey from being a patient to a person.”
Since January, Paul has been working with a personal trainer at the Oasis leisure centre in Hunstanton.
He is now training for the Hunstanton Beat The Tide Fun Run, which will take place on the beach on Sunday, June 28 to raise funds for the association, for which he is already a volunteer ambassador.
Around 150,000 people suffer a stroke in Britain every year.
The condition is the country’s fourth biggest killer, behind cancer, heart disease and lung disease, and Paul describes himself as one of the “lucky ones” who survived and can share his story.
But he added: “The effects of stroke are for life and we believe in and support life after stroke.
“Our life quality is very variable and really depends both on the severity of the stroke and the support and the care that we all need in our recovery.”
Paul, who will celebrate his 59th birthday three days before the event, has so far received more than £1,200 in sponsorship pledges towards his initial £1,500 target.
And he said he would like to take part in further fundraising initiatives in the future.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/paul-fisher28/.