Jess Renkin, 22, from Greenbank strides to fight stroke in support of her mother

GREENBANK mother Katherine Renkin was a healthy and fit non-smoker who didn't drink alcohol when she suffered a life-changing stroke at the age of 40.

PASSION: Katherine Renkin with her daughter Jess Renkin who is running 150km in support of the Stroke Foundation.

PASSION: Katherine Renkin with her daughter Jess Renkin who is running 150km in support of the Stroke Foundation.

The unexpected medical event led to a scary 18 months of rehabilitation and intensive therapy, while her family waited in hope that she would recover back to her normal self.

Her daughter, Jess Renkin, 22, said she and her two younger sisters, aged four and eight, were relieved to see Katherine defy the odds and emerge from the medical condition with only minor speech difficulties.

"I have always been close with my mum and when it all happened it was shocking," she said.

"It was hard for us, as it hit us unexpectedly with no warning signs. There was just a seizure one day.

"The first six months were quite hard to watch given the impact the Stroke had on her.

"Doctors couldn't say whether she would recover to her normal self. She had Aphasia and normal conversation was quite difficult.

"She has had speech therapy over the past 18 months and we are so lucky she is back to where she was.

"We are extraordinarily lucky as we know this is not the case for a lot of stroke victims."

Strokes occur due to an interruption of blood flow to the brain. This causes brain cells to die and often contributes to permanent brain damage or death.

Poor diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, smoking and heavy alcohol intake are among a number of risk factors, however they did not apply to Katherine.

After going through the pain of watching a loved one suffer from the disease, Jess has committed to join the Stride4Stroke campaign in support of the Stroke Foundation.

She will run 150 kilometres this month in an attempt to raise at least $1500 for the Stoke Foundation.

The Greenbank Health Club donated a one year membership and three personal training sessions for a raffle at the Middle Green in support of the Stride4Stroke campaign.

Ms Renkin told the Jimboomba Times she wanted to support research efforts to help future stroke patients.

"Sadly, one in four people will have a stroke in their lifetime," she said.

"The impact of stroke can be devastating for the individual and the family, but stroke's impact doesn't need to be this great.

"Research indicates that around 80 per cent of strokes are preventable.

"Stroke kills more people than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. There is a misconception that only elderly people get struck by stroke."

Ms Renkin called on people to be familiar with stroke warning signs by studying the FAST (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym.

Visit the Stride4Stroke website to support Jess' campaign.