At the age of 39, Kate Allatt suffered a catastrophic brainstem stroke and was diagnosed with locked in syndrome (LIS), a terrifying condition where you can think, feel, see and hear everything normally, but move absolutely nothing. In the early days, doctors thought she was vegetative and would be ‘better off dead’. Unexpectedly, Kate made an almost full recovery, which shocked doctors and the world’s media. This led her to write her now internationally published book Running Free – Breaking out of Locked-in Syndrome in 2011. A former 70 mile-a-week fell runner, Kate won Extraordinary Woman in 2011 and founded her registered digital charity just 3 months after leaving the hospital in 2011. She remains a determined, tireless advocate and activist for anyone around the world affected by early LIS.
So far, she has travelled as far as New York, Poland, Belfast, Finland, Ireland, Europe as well as England, Amsterdam, Scotland and Wales, visiting patients, in the early stages of the condition, and continuing to give desperate people the belief to try to improve and break free of LIS. Her patient stories of improvement are simply phenomenal.
She was made a Honorary Doctorate Litterarum by Sheffield Hallam University in 2017 – their highest award and considered beyond a PhD – for her global work in stroke advocacy/research since her own illness in 2010. She passionately believed she would not only recover but also make a difference to the lives of others affected by LIS globally.
Consequently, she was honoured for her work as a VIP at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2012. Kate also attended The Queens Garden Party in 2014. Kate strives to influence the mindset of the stroke establishment by campaigning on #strokerecovery and mental health issues.
Winston Churchill’s famous quote inspired Kate to improve in hospital & to be the worldwide advocate, influencers and disrupter she has become:
“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”