Octogenarian to compete in first 5km race thanks to long-term physio support

After four years of physiotherapy Ann Rowe, a care home resident who used a wheelchair, has taken part in her first 5km race at the age of 87.

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Physiotherapist Michael Stokes puts Ann Rowe through the training paces ahead of Sunday's fun run

When Ms Rowe moved into Nightingale House, a residential care home in south-west London run by charity Nightingale Hammerson, she was dependent on manual hoisting equipment to move around.

Since then, through weekly sessions with Nightingale’s physiotherapist Michael Stokes, she has progressed to walking short distances unaided and recently spent a weekend away from home on her own. ‘Ann is an example of someone who has built up a lot of confidence through physiotherapy,’ said Mr Stokes.

‘It is unusual for people with multiple conditions, such as Ms Rowe, to move in the opposite direction with their mobility, but she was well-motivated to regain her independence. She proves there is still a chance for people to regain lost skills,’ he added.

Ms Rowe will be taking part in Parallel London’s 5km track event on 3 September, held at the Queen Elizabeth London Olympic Park. In its second year, the ‘fully accessible fun run’, staged through a range of events, is aimed at all ages and abilities.

‘The point is to compete in the way that best suits. Ann will be doing a mix of walking, with back-up wheelchair assistance from me. She definitely wants to walk across the finish line,’ said Mr Stokes.

So far, Ms Rowe has raised £7,000 for Nightingale Hammerson and hopes to inspire others.


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by Louise Hunt

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