What stops you going for a run? The weather, time, health issues?
None of those things could stop Helen Woodhouse.
The Wagga real estate agent completed the Gold Coast half marathon after suffering a stroke in May 2017.
Helen was actually training for a marathon when she had her stroke last year. Luckily her husband, Ben, picked up that she wasn’t right and took her straight to hospital.
After treatment and recovery it wasn’t long until Helen wanted to start running again but it wasn’t easy.
“It was horrible,” she said.
“I was scared of the dark and scared of running by myself – so my husband Benny would go bike riding while I ran to help me.”
No matter what life throws your way, you can get through it with a smile on your face.Helen Woodhouse
Her goals were even supported at work with Helen’s assistant, Sarah, writing her a training program and even convincing her to sign up for the Gold Coast half marathon.
“We were both running so we would check in with each other every morning at work,” Helen said.
“Once I committed to running the half marathon I knew I had to get out of bed each morning and go running – even when I didn’t want to, I had to train to make the distance and I knew Sarah would kick my butt if I didn’t.
“And I wanted to conquer my fear of running and the dark - because I had loved running so much before it happened.
“After a few months of training I started to love it again and really enjoyed the challenge of getting my kilometres up each time I ran.”
After getting back into running for herself, Helen also wanted to do something for the bigger picture and raise awareness of stroke in young people.
It was more about raising awareness than it was raising money but team Woodhouse raised almost $9000.
“I was blown away by people's generosity and support. I’m so proud of myself and my team,” Helen said.
Being surrounded by good people is what helped get Helen through her health scare and helps keep her positive.
“At the end of the day, we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand,” Helen said.
“So I chose to play my hand in the most positive and inspiring way I could by spreading awareness of stroke in young people.”
If you’re going through a tough time with health or even just mentally, try to follow Helen’s advice.
“Don’t give up and surround yourself with people who care,” She said.
“Stay positive. Be kind to yourself and celebrate every little victory along the way.
“Work on your health and fitness everyday. A huge part of my happiness and positive outlook comes from being fit and healthy.
“One of the main reasons I was able to recover so quickly was my health and fitness before it happened.”
- Read more health stories in Essential Health 2018.