A FRENCH man who made Limerick his home for seven years has thanked local people for their support after he suffered a stroke.
Kevin Saude, 26, a spinning instructor with the University of Limerick Sports Arena and ProZone in Thomond Park, had returned to Bar le Duc, in the north east of his native France to scatter his mother’s ashes in recent weeks.
A few days later he suffered a stroke, is now confined to a wheelchair and is trying to walk again.
A charity relay marathon will be held in the University of Limerick for him on September 13,
A number of his friends from various running clubs across Limerick, including Dooneen AC, have come together to organise a running event, Run a Lap for Kevin, to raise funds for his treatment.
“If someone told me seven years ago when I first set foot in Limerick that a whole community would get behind me in such a powerful and meaningful way and after a life changing tragedy like this, I certainly would not have believed it,” he said.
“Limerick and Irish people in general shaped me, even though this expression might seem rather generic. When people over here in France ask me about Ireland and Limerick I always mention with emotion and humility the support this event - that for once I have done nothing to organise - is gathering.
“Limerick people, I may be far at the moment, but I’m with you all in spirit. We share our sense of hope and resilience together, as well as our sorrow, sadness and compassion in light of the recent tragedy in the River Shannon,” he said.
It is now some seven weeks since Kevin had to take to a wheelchair and he is learning to use the right hand side of his body once more.
“I can only walk like a robot for a few metres, but I know I will be able to walk in a natural fashion eventually. It’s one step at a time, requiring an insane effort.
“I’m not out of the woods yet, but this is promising and I was told I’m blowing the doctors away. I must have inherited the resilience of the Irish somehow,” he said.
He said he doesn’t know if he’ll ever to be able to run a marathon again, or how long his rehabilitation will take.
“I’ve lost parts of my brain that I will never get back. My brain will rewire itself to a certain point and thus claim back some control over my muscles. It could take weeks, months or never happen again, but we are confident it will be okay. I want to believe anyway. I’m hoping for the best, “ he said.
The event is on from 12pm. Tickets are priced at €10. See eventmaster to book.