For most long distance runners, 1000km in four weeks is the pinnacle of a regimented and strenuous training routine. Completing the equivalent of 23 full length marathons requires a high level of physical, and mental fitness.
Just think about how long it would take a healthy person, now imagine completing it only months after suffering a serious stroke.
For Dan Englund, the finish line of a challenging rehabilitation process was at the end of a 1000km run. The journey took Dan from his Queensland home town of Emerald to Brisbane. Dan raised an incredible $40,000 for the Stroke Foundation and inspired many stroke survivors along the way.
Dan was running a successful carpentry business when he sustained a stroke. He was 38 years old. While it takes courage, determination and psychological strength to recover from such a life-changing event, Dan puts his success down to having strong support during his recovery – from his wife and two young children, his community and his rehabilitation team.
Without rehabilitation cover, Dan’s life would be much different. We asked Dan to take us through his journey, how far he’s come and the long road ahead.
Where did you find the determination to not only recover, but to pursue such an incredible goal?
My passion for running was a big motivation. My feelings of gratefulness to the staff at the hospitals made me think that I could combine the two and give something back.
What message do you want to send when you cross that finish line?
Stroke does not discriminate. Also, don’t give up, and strive for your full recovery.
What inspires you most?
Watching other people achieve and accomplish their goals, no matter how great the odds.
How long has the rehabilitation process taken and is all the hard work now done?
Originally three weeks of intensive inpatient rehabilitation, followed by outpatient weekly rehabilitation for the last nine months. The most important message for stroke survivors is to do your homework from the physiotherapist! The rehabilitation process is ongoing. I have days where the stroke symptoms can slow me down. I don’t let these days change my life.
What were your major milestones during your road to recovery?
Three days after my stroke I walked with a cane unassisted. Six days after my stroke I was able to pick up and hug my children. After three weeks of rehab I was able to walk with only a limp. Three months post-stroke I went for my first run and achieved 6.5km. Six months to the day after my stroke, I ran 21km, the same distance I ran the day before my stroke and only eight minutes past my personal best time.
What impact did the health professionals you worked with during rehabilitation have on you?
The care given by both the Wesley and Canossa hospitals was second to none. The positive attitude from the nurses and doctors convinced me that I would once again run and return back to my normal life.
How important has your insurance cover been in helping you get back on your feet?
It was the first thing that I thought about in the Emergency Department.Without this insurance I would not have had the opportunity to recover as well as I have. Asteron Life not only provided our family with an income, but also a Rehabilitation Adviser who coordinated a structured program utilising a rehabilitation consultant, exercise physiologist and physiotherapist in our town. All of this led to a great recovery with no adverse effect upon my family or my business.
If you had one piece of advice to give our readers, what would it be?
Had we not had this insurance our family would have suffered severe financial distress. Income protection should be the most important insurance for anyone who is self-employed or supporting their family.
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