Stroke survivor's love of walking has kept him going throughout lockdown 08 July 2021 After suffering a stroke two years ago, just getting out every day for a walk is what William Gallagher is most grateful for. William, 69, feared the worst when he became ill in July 2019. Discharged from hospital five days after his stroke, he fretted that he wasn’t then able to take his beloved chihuahua Alfie out for his daily walks. "When I had my stroke, the doctors at the hospital told me it was actually the second one I’d had, but I had no idea anything had happened to me," explains William. "When I got home, I tried to walk the dog. I used to walk everywhere for miles, but I couldn’t even go half a mile. I was so disappointed that I didn’t have the energy." However, after a month of rest and recuperation – and a break for Alfie staying with William’s son – better health and, importantly, those crucial daily walks returned for William. "Alfie went to stay with my son for a few weeks and I began to recuperate. I didn’t want to walk with a stick, so I started walking wee distances, from the house to the paper shop." Walking group He spotted a notice at the local health centre and was soon part of the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland health walking group. William initially joined a walking group in nearby Clydebank, but just two months after his stroke, he was part of the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland health walking group, run by Kevin Miller, our Health Defence Coordinator in Drumchapel. “The best thing that a walk does is help your mental health because just being out and active makes you feel good," adds William. "The walking group is good for us because everyone goes at their own pace. And we’re out there, no matter the weather." The health walk is run in partnership with the Alliance Scotland Community Links Practitioners who are based in Drumchapel health centre. The project is also supported by Paths for All. Walking through lockdown For William, the joy of being out in the fresh air has been a lifeline during the difficult last year of lockdown and restrictions. While the weekly health walk was suspended by coronavirus restrictions, he doggedly went out walking every single day by himself, doing five or six miles at a time. “The walking group is great company because we’re all going through the same thing. I am very grateful for all the positive things in my life,” says William. Kevin Miller says William is an inspiration, adding: “William came to have a chat with me after seeing the sign about the health walk. He started the next week and has hardly missed a walk since. “The best thing that a walk does is help your mental health because just being out and active makes you feel good." “We had to stop our walks during the first lockdown, but when we started back in May, I called him up and he came back right away. He told me he’d been out walking every single day by himself, probably doing up to 40 miles a week. It’s incredible dedication and inspiring to see.” Being thankful “I have lots to be thankful for. My dog Alfie gives me the motivation to get up and out every morning. My son makes sure I’m taking my tablets and gets me to hospital appointments," explains William. For this year's Thank You Day on 4th July, William lead a "chain of thank yous" throughout Drumchapel with the help of the walking group. The group, who are so thankful to be able to meet again for their weekly walks, used their love of walking to say a big thank you to members of the community who helped keep them going throughout the last year. The group delivered cards to people at various locations across the town centre, including Drumchapel Health Centre, Lloyds Pharmacy, Police Scotland, Fortune Works, Men Matter, the Post Office, Cllr Elspeth Kerr and Cllr Malcolm Balfour to say a big thank you to people who have worked so hard throughout the pandemic. The local businesses have received a card from the group as well as blank thank you cards so that they can pass on their thanks to someone else, spreading kindness across the whole of the community.