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Defying the odds to run the London Marathon


In 2011, at the age of 46, Andy underwent what should have been a minor operation to remove a lump in his neck. Unfortunately a serious complication caused him to suffer a massive stroke following surgery. Doctors gave him a 5% chance of survival.

Defying the odds

Andy was a high-profile motorcycle journalist, test rider, author, riding coach and Managing Director of a superbike school. He was at the peak of a high-flying career that took him around the world. This all came crashing down following his stroke.

He defied the odds after doctors gave him a 5% chance of survival. But the stroke left him with only half of his brain functioning properly. It had damaged the areas controlling language expression and comprehension, as well as the areas controlling the right side of his body. He was unable to speak and unable to use his right arm.

Returning home after six months in hospital, Andy was unable to do anything for himself. He couldn’t walk, talk, eat, drink, or dress himself. He had to relearn everything. It took four long years of very hard work to regain his mobility and his ability to talk, work that is still ongoing.

Unable to get a job, however, after two more years he hit rock bottom and couldn’t see any reason to keep going. But his wife inspired him to look for a new challenge. That was the start of his journey back.

A true inspiration

Andy's first challenge was walking to the end of the road and back. 50 metres. Then one mile to the school and back. It built from there.

Since then, he has completed a 7-day ultra-marathon in the Sahara Desert, climbed to Everest base camp, undertaken numerous other endurance challenges, as well as completing a university degree, and building a life as a motivational speaker. He has also found his way back to coaching young riders.

Most recently, Andy completed the 26.2 miles of the 2024 London Marathon, raising more than £3,000 for vital brain research!

A life without challenges is no life at all.  We aren’t here to exist and hang on to life. We are here to be the best we can be. I’m not able to do everything I could, and I don’t have the high flying career I once had, but I can still keep reaching, and I can inspire others to do so too. I hope that my story will show others that life’s adversities don’t have to define us - it’s having the determination to fightback that matters. 

Funding research into brain injury and stroke

Whilst thankfully more people are surviving stroke than ever before, this means that an increasing number of people are living with its after-effects. There are an estimated 1.3 million stroke survivors in the UK today.

The range of disabilities associated with stroke is greater than for any other condition and includes limb weakness, visual problems, and language and communication problems. We are funding research to advance understanding of how to repair the damage caused by stroke, to facilitate recovery and improve the lives of those affected.

With our funding, Dr Barry McColl at the University of Edinburgh is working towards the development of a new treatment that could boost brain repair in stroke survivors and improve recovery. Find out about Barry’s research and our other stroke projects.

The money raised by Andy and all of this year's London Marathon Team #BrainResearch directly enables us to fund more vital brain research. It's not too late to recognise Andy's incredible achievement by sponsoring him, please visit his fundraising page.