Gritty Heng finds his feet

Patrick Heng, 55, will be taking part in the 3.5km Fun Run next month after learning to walk again following a stroke two years ago. PHOTO COURTESY OF PATRICK HENG
Patrick Heng, 55, will be taking part in the 3.5km Fun Run next month after learning to walk again following a stroke two years ago. PHOTO COURTESY OF PATRICK HENG

Stroke victim who walks again motivated by ST Run to persist with daily exercise regimen

Weekly cycling trips were something Patrick Heng looked forward to but these stopped when he suffered a stroke after one of those cycling sessions two years ago.

While taking a shower, he suddenly felt the right side of his body go numb. He was hospitalised for the next two months, an experience he described as the scariest he had been through.

"It was the worst experience, I didn't know what to do," said Heng, who works in the tenancy management department at the National Environment Agency.

"My right side is my stronger side, but it was incapable already. I didn't know what the future would be like."

Over the next four months, he learnt to walk again, first with a stick before eventually being able to venture out on his own again.

These days, the 55-year-old makes an effort to exercise daily, even if it is as simple as doing shoulder shrugs. His regimen includes clocking 10,000 steps daily and 60,000 on weekends, which also serves as training for his second The Straits Times Run on Sept 29.

He first participated last year, in the 5km Fun Run, and will do the 3.5km Fun Run this time.

He said: "I'm very keen to participate in such activities. The fun walk was something to pick myself up; it motivated me because I had to train for it and I became fitter."

Similar to last year, he will be taking part with his friends from the Singapore National Stroke Association, a support group for stroke survivors and caregivers.

He joined after a sharing session at an event two years ago and it was there that he found a group of people he could relate to.

He still requires therapy for his right hand, his throat is weak and he gets frequent headaches, but he refuses to let it get to him.

He urges other stroke patients to do the same, noting: "There will be ups and downs, it won't be easy.

"But don't give up, persevere, there's always a way out."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2019, with the headline 'Gritty Heng finds his feet'. Print Edition | Subscribe