BY TOBY PORTER
Like many daughters, Chelsey Hickman looked up to her dad. Even at the age of 22, she still looked to him for guidance, to help her if she had any problems. But all of that was shattered one day in 2015, when her father Gary Hickman suddenly had a stroke, aged just 48.
Chelsey, now 25, of Allfarthing Lane, Wandsworth, said: “Before his stroke, my dad was my best friend.
“I will never forget the morning when I took the call from my mum telling me that dad had had a stroke.
“I felt like my world had come crashing down around me – I knew about strokes, but could never imagine my dad having one.”
Chelsey, who works in marketing for a pharmaceuticals company, is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Stroke Association on April 22.
She said: “My parents have been so strong throughout this.
“Dad’s stroke has been the toughest challenge we’ve ever faced, but it’s definitely brought us closer as a family.
“He was my best friend – but today, he is my inspiration, my superhero, and the reason I strive to accomplish things I had only ever dreamed of achieving.
“While it threatened to take my dad away and two years later still means some days are challenging, we’ve been incredibly lucky to have him here alongside us as we fight back.
“The impact of his stroke on our lives has been confusing, unpredictable and traumatic, but for many families the consequences are completely devastating.
“The support of the Stroke Association has been a guiding light when things are uncertain, providing both physical and psychological support to my dad, but also to all of us travelling on his journey to recovery with him.
“Throughout heart surgery, brain surgery and the ever- changing after-effects of the stroke, my dad has remained my hero, my knight in shining armour and now more than ever, my biggest inspiration.
“This is why on April 22 there is no place I’d rather be than running the marathon as a member of Team Stroke.
“Training has been hard, especially in this cold weather.
“But I keep coming back to the fact that a few aching joints is nothing compared to what my dad has been through.
“I am sure that thought will help keep me going when the going gets tough on the big day.”
To sponsor Chelsey visit www.justgiving.com/chelsey-hickman92