Stroke survivor from Churchover to cycle across America for Different Strokes charity

Robert Jackson is cycling from the east to west coast of America
Robert Jackson is cycling from the east to west coast of America

A man who suffered a stroke caused by an unknown hole in his heart is determined to cycle from the east to the west coast of America to prove he’s fighting fit again.

Robert Jackson, from Churchover, flys to America today (Friday) to begin the 4,623 mile journey from Yorktown in Virginia to Seattle.

The 57-year-old had a stroke in 2010 caused by a hole in his heart that he didn’t know he had.

“Doctors said people don’t normally survive what I went through but I told them I’m a fighter and I’ve got a lot more living to do yet,” Robert said.

“I was getting ready for work one day and the stroke came out of no where. I lay on my bathroom floor for 11 hours and went into a coma. I was a very active person and had completed the London Marathon, so it was totally unexpected,” he said.

Robert’s secretary at the company where he worked as a consultant engineer was concerned when he didn’t show up, and went to his house along with a friend he was supposed to meet for coffee. They realised something was wrong and called an ambulance. Paramedics took Robert to University Hospital Coventry where he spent six weeks in a coma.

After having surgery to close the hole in his heart and retiring due to the stroke, Robert decided to become a volunteer on the stroke ward at the hospital.

“I’ve been positive and proactive since it happened,” he said.

“There’s life after a stroke and I’m going to live it. I had always been an active and fit person, so I decided to get fit again and become a professional cyclist. I’m determined to complete the TransAm Trail and raise money for the Different Strokes charity.”

Robert aims to complete between 120 and 150 miles a day during the five week challenge on his customised bike from Lutterworth Cycle Centre. To follow his blog go to travelblogs.mapquest.com and search for Robert’s American Adventure, which includes sponsorship links.