Suffolk

Parkrun triumph for runner who recovered from two strokes

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Media captionBen Parker is awaiting an operation at Addenbrooke's Hospital to close up the hole in his heart that has caused him to suffer two strokes

A runner who overcame two strokes, a hole in the heart and a broken back to complete his first five-kilometre parkrun says he will be back to try for a new personal best.

Ben Parker, from Kesgrave, had previously been told he would never walk or talk again.

The 39-year-old completed the event at Kesgrave on Saturday morning.

His sister, Lucy Bryanton, said "everyone was in tears" and "Ben was just overwhelmed".

Image copyright Perry Evans
Image caption Doctors told Ben Parker's family he would probably die after he fell out of a window at a party 13 years ago

Parkrun volunteer Perry Evans said: "It makes you value life. Stories like this are inspirational."

Mr Parker suffered what was believed to be a brain hemorrhage after falling from a window 13 years ago. He also broke his back.

Mrs Bryanton said she was told "he is probably going to die".

"He was in a terrible state," she said. "We were told if he came round he wouldn't be able to do anything."

Mrs Bryanton said their mother, Ann, nursed him back to health through a regime of swimming, speech therapy and walking.

Image copyright Perry Evans
Image caption Many of the 433 participants at Kesgrave parkrun cheered Ben Parker to the finish line

Three years ago he had another "massive stroke," with doctors again warning he could die.

"He couldn't talk," said Mrs Bryanton. "He felt he had just come round after the accident."

Doctors later said the original incident had also probably been a stroke caused by a hole in the heart.

Mr Parker fought his way back to relative health again, but found he was lonely after moving out on his own - prompting his sister to suggest he tried the parkrun.

"He feels part of a community now," she said. "They were such welcoming people. Ben told me, 'I can do better next time'."

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