Aphasia affects more than 350,000 people in the UK, but many people have never heard of it. I myself had never heard of it until I started getting interested in speech and language. Once I started talking about it, I realised how many people I know have loved ones who have or have had aphasia. In 2019 I volunteered in a neurorehab unit which brought home the impact aphasia has not only on the quality of life of the individual, but their friends and family too.

Aphasia is a communication disability which occurs when the communication centres of the brain are damaged. It is usually caused by a stroke, brain haemorrhage, head injury or a brain tumour. Aphasia makes it difficult to read, write or speak. It affects everyone differently, but some people find themselves unable to speak at all.

SayAphasia raises awareness of the disability, provides social groups and befriending services for people with aphasia, and provides education and support to affected friends and family.

Founded by a stroke survivor, the charity provides help from those who have first-hand experience of the frustration and isolation of finding yourself unable to communicate in the way you're used to. SayAphasia uses this experience to support people with aphasia, and those close to them, accept and understand what is happening to them.

Thanks to the pandemic I'm in the worst shape of my life - so no better time to run 21ks! If you are able to spare a few quid (no amount too small!) for this fantastic cause, that would be great :) Lauren Pigott