About Dr Kate Allatt
Good stories stick longer, shape visions, teach lessons, set values & define culture…
In Kate’s own words …
“In early February, I was invited on BBC radio to talk about my daring charity climb up the Western Breach of Kilimanjaro, for my fortieth birthday, in June 2010. I was a super fit, fell runner, digital marketer, married, devoted mother of three young children – Woody 5, Harvey 8 India 10 – but our lives were to change forever. Just four days after that bubbly radio interview, I suddenly suffered a catastrophic brain stem stroke. Kilimanjaro never happened. I emerged from my medically induced coma and was considered vegetative. However, I could actually think, feel, see and hear normally but was just unable to move a single muscle. I felt ‘buried alive’, ‘trapped inside my body’ as I suffered the terrifying condition known as Locked In Syndrome, at the age of 39. However, a chance telephone call from the same radio producer, was to transform my shattered life, and thus give it meaning and purpose. More importantly, I was able to help transform the shattered lives of equally written-off, forgotten, people,affected by Locked In Syndrome, globally, The results are nothing short of astonishing. I’ve learnt how important it is for people to be given a good quality of life back in the community. It’s simply not good enough to pat ourselves on the back for skillfully saving the lives of people who would have simply died a few years ago. We must consider how we can help make these survivors be the best they can be in our communities afterwards. Presently, most long term Locked In Syndrome survivors merely just ‘exist’ pitifully in our nursing homes. I’ve also learnt there are ‘no promises, just possibilities’ and HOPE. “
I was born in Poynton in 1970 and raised in Macclesfield by my parents – Jan and late dad David Elderton. They divorced when I was 10 years old which was tough. I am a typical middle child and have three other siblings – Paul, Tim and Abigail. I was originally booked on the doomed Lockerbie Pan Am flight at 18. I only postponed it to leave in the January 1989, for one last drunken Xmas night with my school mates. A lucky escape as the decision made just two weeks before that doomed flight. From America, I returned to study a Business Studies degree at Sheffield Hallam University in 1989. Eventually, I went on to pursue a digital marketing and branding marketing career, all whilst juggling her very ‘hands-on’ role with her then young children India, Harvey and Woody.At 39 years of age, I astonishingly and unexpectedly recovered from being diagnosed with Locked In Syndrome in 2010, after initially being misdiagnosed with a stress induced migraine.
Unbelievably, later in that same year in 2010, I started writing her now Internationally published book ‘Running Free; Breaking out of Locked In Syndrome’ (2011). My book has subsequently become a global stroke recovery manual, but also an inspirational non-fiction book for anyone who needs to be inspired. Just three months after leaving hospital I founded and ran her global digital charity – Fighting Strokes (2011-2016). I won Extraordinary Woman 2011, was a VIP guest of the Deputy PM Nick Clegg MP at the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. In 2013, I pioneered and co-wrote the ESCAPS feasibility research with Dr Joanna Fletcher-Smith at The University of Nottingham in 2013, and were awarded £250,000 research funding, all initially from a single tweet! In 2014, I was a guest at the Queen’s Garden Party for her global advocacy work with stroke survivors with Fighting Strokes. I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2017 by Sheffield Hallam University for her networking with connections as a key opinion leader and for my global advocacy work. I’ve always been an outspoken champion in the global media since my stroke, as the voice for other Locked In Syndrome survivors. I like to deliver wow-factor inspirational speeches on resiliency, mental toughness especially after suffering the ultimate locked in, lockdown ‘buried alive’ experience. I also gave a TEDx on ‘Voicing Inner Thoughts Matters’. I am passionate, the real deal and motivated which is why I think was able to achieve all this in just 8 years following my stroke.
A combination of factors helped my unexpected recovery and motivation to change things for others over the last 10 years. These include my endurance fitness, age, the ‘prove-you-wrong’ chip on my shoulder, my unique friendship (and humour) with her partner-in-crime Alison, my failing marriage, dogs, my naturally opportunistic nature and near death experiences. But none of these compared to the drive and motivation my then young children then aged 4, 8 and 10 gave me. Thankyou India, Harvey and Woody. Finally, I am fully aware luck also played a big part in my recovery.
Along with my inspiring leadership speeches/webinars I continue to work on research, care home, case management and health consultancy projects. In 2020, I was appointed GripAble rehab ambassador and the social media content consultant/trainer for Caremark Rotherham.
When I’m not being the voice for stroke survivors, I enjoy spending time with my grown up kids, photography and long walks in The Peak District with Lottie & Marj!
What will I do next? Watch this space ….. !
Her media appearances include:
BBC Jeremy Vine, BBC Victoria Derbyshire TV, BBC Today, BBC Newsnight, BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Sheffield, The One Show, This Morning, Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, RTL Germany, ABC Australia, The Times, The Times on Sunday, The Indian Times, Readers Digest, Woman & Home, Woman, The Good housekeeping Guide, BBC World Service, Sky News, GLOBO TV, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, etc….
“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”