EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN OF THE YEAR IS LOCKED-IN SURVIVOR

‘Just amazing and inspirational’ Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2 presenter

Defying medical wisdom by recovering from Lock-in Syndrome a young mother of three wrote a book about her experience in less than a year and has been named the 2011 Extraordinary Woman of the Year.

Caused by a severe blood clot in her brainstem, Kate Allatt, 39, businesswoman and fell-runner suffered a massive stroke on February 7, 2010. She was only able to blink her eyes in order to communicate after being completely paralysed by the stroke. Her family was warned by doctors that her chance of survival was only 50/50 and if she survived she would never talk, walk, swallow or lead a normal life.

Kate walked onto the stage, on Tuesday May 10, and gave a speech thanking organizers for the award at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham while accepting the award at the Extraordinary Women conference and award ceremony. She learned to talk and walk after eight difficult and hard months of work and determination.

She was discharged last September from the hospital and returned home to her husband Mark and three children. With regular therapy sessions since then, she has continually improved her speech and her movements. She ran her first 20m at a charity fun run on the first anniversary of her stroke as 200 people looked on.

On May 19 she launches her autobiography Running Free: Breaking Out from Locked-on Syndrome after signing a publishing deal with Accent Press Ltd.

Her defiant recovery impressed judges who named her the Extraordinary Woman of the Year 2011 and winner of the Extraordinary Personal Endeavour category.

Kate said: ‘It’s been an interesting year. This time last year when I was lying in a hospital bed willing my fingers to move, my family and friends would never have imagined I would be standing on a stage accepting awards. Yet the thought that I would never be a mum again always inspired me to walk and talk again and my family and friends have helped me to get where I am today. My motto has always been “life is without limits, push them”.

‘By winning this award I hope to help other survivors of locked-in syndrome and their families, by showing that you don’t have to accept limits on your recovery.’

Hazel Cushion, MD, of Accent Press Ltd, said: ‘I am delighted that Kate has won this award. She is such an inspiration. I first met Kate via Facebook when she was still in hospital and using just one hand to communicate her story to the world. She has made an amazing recovery and really lives up to the title of Extraordinary Woman of the Year.‘