Stroke Survivor Bikes the Length of NZ
Biking the length of the country would be a daunting prospect for anyone – let alone a 60-year-old stroke survivor!
But that exactly what inspirational Kiwi battler Julie Milne did, overcoming her right-side weakness, homesickness, the Gita storm - and some pretty dodgy drivers! And thanks to you Julie helped raise thousands of dollars for stroke survivors and their families.
“I did this for people to take notice,” Julie says.
“Hopefully seeing what I did will make you think of a personal journey you might like to complete. It is the journey that is important.”
Julie also wants her 2380km odyssey to inspire other stroke survivors to show they can lead a full and rewarding life.
“My preparation saw me doing U-turns on a bike,” Julie says.
“That’s balance that I haven’t had for 52 years. That is real success. Start small and work up to it. Life is a journey, enjoy it to the best of your ability and work hard. You deserve it.”
Amazingly, doctors told Julie she’d spend her life in an institution, after two debilitating strokes at the age of just six.
Julie’s parents were told she wouldn’t be able to hold down a job, get married or have children.
Her parents ignored those pessimists and Julie confounded the so-called experts who couldn’t see what she was capable of achieving.
Despite discrimination and challenges she’s now married with two children, has a Masters in Information and Library Studies and is a Specialist Mental Health Librarian for the Canterbury District Health Board.
Julie says amazing support got her through the toughest challenges of the ride.
“People in all walks of life would come and inquire about my trip then tell me their story. It was a real privilege to hear these stories.”
And Julie has no doubts about the best part.
“Seeing my kids at the end. I was really homesick by then.”
Julie’s back at work but she’s already got her sights set on a new challenge.
“I used to be able to freestyle in the swimming pool. I haven’t been able to raise my right hand to against my ear as you would when swimming for years and years. I know that this is a huge ask.
“Realistically I can cycle without pain in my shoulder now. That is a big improvement but to get my elbow above my ear, well that is quite a personal challenge.”
We’ve got no doubt it’s another challenge she’ll rise to – and win.