By Sarah Mockford
MICHAEL LYNAGH is going to run the London Marathon on Sunday 21 April – almost a year to the day that he suffered a near-fatal stroke.
Look at the 1991 World Cup-winning Wallaby fly-half now and there are no outward signs of the trauma he suffered in Australia last April; he’s made a remarkable recovery, although he has lost nearly half the sight in his left eye.
Lynagh realises how fortunate he is and, having met fellow stroke survivors, he decided he wanted to give something back, which is where a Sky Sports colleague stepped in.
James Gemmell, one of Sky’s rugby presenters, told Lynagh he wanted to run the London Marathon for the Stroke Association and rather than simply give him a pat on the back, 49-year-old Lynagh decided to join his antipodean workmate.
Since then the whole thing has spiralled and now Team Sky for Stroke, an eight-strong squad including Scotland’s interim forwards coach Dean Ryan and former Ireland wing Tyrone Howe, will be pounding London’s streets in April to raise money for the charity.
Lynagh has earmarked a specific project for the funds raised by his team’s efforts, too. He wants to focus on the Stroke Association’s ‘Back to Work’ scheme, helping survivors to return to work after their strokes.
“I see myself as one of the lucky ones being able to go back to work,” he says. “Not all stroke survivors get that chance and by supporting the Stroke Association, I’m excited to try and help change that.”
You can sponsor Lynagh and his team by visiting justgiving.com/teamskyforstroke
He may have won the 1991 World Cup with Australia but this is set to be Lynagh’s biggest challenge yet – and it is certainly an inspiring one. As he says: “I look forward to making a difference.”