Daughter’s fundraiser for Daventry charity supporting her ‘inspiring’ mother and ‘best friend’ who survived cancer and a stroke
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A daughter is taking it upon herself to fundraise for a Daventry charity that has been supporting her mother, a stroke and breast cancer survivor, for almost a decade.
Stacey Pfadenhauer, 37, is getting creative this Halloween to raise money for the Reach for Health charity – a centre dedicated to physical and mental health rehabilitation – after the organisation helped to improve her mother’s quality of life.
Stacey said: “The charity is very close to my heart. It’s just been such a gem in my mum’s life. It’s really improved her quality of life since she started to go in there. It’s just such a special place.”
Stacey’s mother, Carol Mansell, 66, had a stroke on August 19, 2012, which was followed by a breast cancer diagnosis almost 10 years later.
Talking about the stroke, Stacey said: “It was a summer night. My stepdad heard a bang upstairs. My mum was unconscious on the floor. I returned home not too long later. I didn’t know what was happening. There was just a panic at the house. It was quite stressful.”
Carol had to be transported from a hospital in Northampton to Leicester. The doctors administered thrombolysis, a medication that breaks down and disperses clots, to prevent blood from reaching the brain. Thrombolysis should be administered to most patients within four and a half hours of the stroke symptoms starting. Carol arrived at the hospital on schedule.
Stacey said: “It was very shocking. We didn’t see it coming. In the first 48 hours, we were told it was possible she might not survive. My stepdad didn’t leave her side. He slept by her bedside. She was unconscious.
“It was a very scary time. When you're told that your parent, and in my case, she's my best friend, may not wake up, you know, it could be fatal. It was very terrifying.”
When her mother woke up in the hospital, Stacey said that she was unable to speak and recognise anyone for a long period of time. The stroke left her with impaired speech, restricted physical abilities, and weakness on the right side of her body.
Carol, now a wheelchair user, had to progressively regain her ability to walk while she was in the hospital. She can now use a cane to walk short distances.
Carol was released from the hospital after almost six months, where she continued her physical and speech therapy with the support of her husband and daughter. She is currently learning how to write with her left hand.
“I never take anything for granted anymore. My mum would love to be able to write again. Just the ability to speak without struggling anymore. It made me even more aware of what I needed to be thankful for and the simple things I took for granted,” said Stacey.
The family discovered the Reach for Health charity a year after Carol had the stroke. She now visits the centre twice a week for speech therapy and their rehabilitation gym. Carol made friends at the facility and improved her mobility significantly.
“Everyone noticed an improvement,” said Stacey.
Almost 10 years after Carol suffered the stroke, around Christmas of 2021, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In February 2022, Carol had to go through surgery, a mastectomy and a lymphadenectomy, to remove her breast and lymph nodes.
“She was very scared, but she came out very happy. She’s inspiring. We always say she’s a tough cookie. I’m not someone who’s got a great deal of courage, but my mum has a lot of courage. I really admire her,” said Stacey.
To show her appreciation and support for the charity that has helped her mum so much, Stacey, along with her friends and housemates, Tom Farrer, 37, Michael Higham, 37, and Kian Pinchin, 21, have created a Halloween display for trick-or-treating in Boxgrove Way, Daventry. It will be open to the public on October 31.
Stacey has put together a donation bucket for the Reach for Health charity and people can also donate by sending a text at 70450 with the word ‘TRICK’ followed by the donation amount.
Anthony Webster, an actor who starred in the BBC series 'Wolf', narrated a soundtrack to accompany the display.
Stacey said: “We tried to make it as special as possible. We just love Halloween. We decorate our house every year, and we started to get quite a lot of visitors. Our estate is amazing for Halloween.”
Daniel Miller, 28, the Reach for Health centre manager, said: “I am amazed by the effort that Stacey has gone through to put this display together. I know we’ve supported her mum during her rehabilitation.
“We don’t expect anything in return but it just speaks a thousand words of what Stacey is doing for us and supporting the charity the way she has been. We’re really grateful for what she’s doing and what it will bring to the charity.”