Thirty-seven year old Ismail Patel will be running the Great Manchester 10k using a walking stick, aiming to redefine disability after defying the odds and being told he would never walk again.
In 2008, Ismail had a bleed on the brain and doctors found arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins.
Due to this, Ismail had weakness in his face and left arm, but doctors decided not to operate due to his age.
After three months, he returned to his everyday life, but just one year later, in 2009, he had a brain haemorrhage which left him in a coma for 18 days at Leeds General Infirmary.
Ismail said: “Being disabled is a negative word, it can be traumatising. But for me, I wanted to take it into a positive, and show people that you can do things even with a disability.
“The doctors told my family to prepare for the worst, they were even close to removing my life support machine but my sister refused to let them.
“I miraculously woke up, but doctors broke the news to me that I would most likely be completely paralysed and never move again.
“I was determined to prove them wrong.”
Ismail stayed in the hospital for two and a half months, with one month being completely bed-bound and the other working with a specialist neuro physio from Wakefields Pinderfields for the remainder of his stay.
Once he was discharged his rehabilitation continued but he was told that it would take him up to five years to walk again.
Ismail added: “I went from being bed-bound to using a wheelchair to walking with the aid of a stick in just six months.
“The next stages were getting to work, then to the gym which I achieved in just eight months after leaving the hospital.”
Ismail returned to his former employer in an administration role at Al-Murad tiles in Morley, where he is now team leader, and continued to defy the odds.
In 2018 his new journey started after an inspirational talk with his friend Keith Halliwell, who he met at the gym.
Ismail said: “At first I thought Keith was joking when he mentioned me doing a 10k, but he wasn’t!”
That same year Ismail took part in four races, In 2019, for the ten year anniversary of his brain haemorrhage, he took part in ten races, and in 2020 he took part in two races but the others were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Post-Covid, Ismail has taken part in five races and this year he plans to race all over the UK.
Ismail said: “I’m planning to conquer the whole of the UK. I’ve already done Dewsbury, London and Wakefield.”
Next on Ismail’s list is the Great Manchester Run, which will be his 25th race, followed by Leeds, Cardiff, the Great North Run - which will be his first half marathon - the Great Scottish Run and York.
Ismail added: “My mother had cancer in 2019 and I took some time out. She’s thankfully recovered now and I’m back to continue to race - I love doing it.
“My mum is my backbone, she walked me through the whole disability, and now she encourages me to carry on doing my running.
“I love showing people that you can do anything, and that disability doesn’t have to stop you.
“My dream is to conquer the London Marathon one day, when I’m stronger physically. I’d also love to go abroad and inspire people all over the world too!”
The Great Manchester Run will take place on Sunday, May 22.
For more information, visit greatrun.org/Manchester