Locked-in syndrome: PSNI officer Clodagh Dunlop walks out of hospital

Clodagh Dunlop
Image caption Clodagh walked for the first time on Thursday after months in Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast

"I blinked to communicate and never thought I would walk again," said a County Londonderry woman who is recovering from locked-in syndrome.

Clodagh Dunlop, who is 35 and from Magherafelt, suffered a massive stroke in April and walked out of hospital for the first time on Thursday.

It was on her birthday in May that Clodagh started to show signs of breaking free from being locked-in.

There is no treatment or cure, and recovery is very rare.

Locked-in syndrome affects particular parts of the brain and Clodagh has had to relearn basic bodily functions like breathing and swallowing

Her long-term goal is to run four miles as she used to do every day.

Image caption Clodagh Dunlop pictured with her sister Diana, partner Adrian and staff from the brain injury unit at Musgrave Park Hospital

Clodagh was based as a PSNI officer in Londonderry. It is a role she hopes to return to one day.

"I'm immensely excited," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

"I have gone from just being able to blink my eyes when I was locked in to taking a few small steps across the threshold at Musgrave.

"The staff have become my family and are very special people.

Image caption Clodagh won a community policing award in 2012

"I told the sister in charge that they have all become angels to me. I had a few tears along the way.

"I can't even describe what the feeling was like.

"When I was admitted they asked me what I wanted to achieve and I said my goal was to walk out of here.

"This is the next step of what will be a long journey. I can't wait to begin it."

More on this story