People

Stroke saviour: Hundreds helped back to more independent life thanks to ex-rifleman Kieron

Kieron Franklin pictured with some of the clients helped by JK House Training Centre. Picture: Dorset Biz News.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: September 5, 2021 | Updated: 5th September 2021

Keiron Franklin can trace his fascination with how our bodies adapt quickly to training – becoming stronger and fitter each day – to his service in the British Army.

Before then the 39-year-old personal trainer could never have imagined running as long, or as fast, as he achieved.

Kieron, who spent four years as a Rifleman in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, now renamed The Rifles, said: “On leaving the Army I wanted to find out more.

“Through trial and error – sometimes big errors – I researched the science behind training which gave me an advantage.

“Understanding not only how the body works but why it works and responds in the way it does.

“I achieved the results I wanted over a journey of many years.

“I increased muscle mass, shred body fat and became more resilient at cardio-vascular training.”

Five years ago, a conversation with Dr Tom Balchin, pictured left, Founder and Director of The ARNI (Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury) Institute and the ARNI Stroke Charity proved a turning point.

Kieron said: “He asked if I’d ever thought about working with stroke survivors and that I should come along to one of the open days.

“I’ve never looked back since.”

Kieron, Founder and Owner of Poole-based JK House Training Centre, is now one of about eight senior instructors in the UK for ARNI.

He said: “I’m passionate about helping stroke survivors lead a more independent life through stroke rehabilitation.

“I instruct many clients in stroke rehabilitation techniques to challenge and beat their limitations and expectations.

“I’m proud to have helped so many people live a more independent life and to have been part of the reason why my clients are fitter and happier.”

Those clients now number in the hundreds with Kieron helping with the stroke rehabilitation of around 30 survivors at any one time.

The sessions, many at the Anytime Fitness gym in Poole, pictured right, have produced extraordinary results.

Some clients initially told they might never get to walk again have even ended up taking part in JK House’s annual Mountember.

The event, which aims to raise awareness as well as essential funds for The ARNI Institute, involves walking up the highest peaks in the UK.

It could be one, or all four, but each weekend this month will be spent hiking a separate peak.

In January things took a turn for the worse for Kieron.

Already undergoing counselling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, resulting from his service in the British Army which included tours in Afghanistan, he was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).

The symptoms range from limb weakness, paralysis and seizures to walking difficulties, spasms and sensory issues.

It’s caused by a problem with the functioning of the nervous system but is seen as a ‘software’ issue of the brain rather than the ‘hardware’ as in a stroke or multiple sclerosis.

Kieron said: “I’m still receiving treatment.

“It’s a long haul and I still have difficulty with memory loss but things are slowly improving.”

Charities supported by JK House Training Centre include The John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation (JTYAF).

In June a 15-mile coastal trek across hills, steep slopes, narrow paths and tough stairs in Dorset – the Coastal Tab – raised more than £2,000 for JTYAF and MYTIME Young Carers.

It’s now become an annual event with June 11, 2022, chosen for the next Coastal Tab.

Pete Thornton, JTYAF’s Chairman, pictured receiving the cheque from Kieron, said: “We first met Kieron a couple of years ago.

“Since then he couldn’t have done more to support John’s Foundation.

“He is genuinely committed to helping others, transforming lives with his stroke rehabilitation and also through his charity work.

“He is committed to several good causes and the JTYAF is honoured to be one of them.

“His energy and dedication has no bounds and his ‘can do this’ attitude really makes things happen.”

Kieron said: “I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and that we can help good causes like the JTYAF.

“It’s been quite a journey over the last few years but there’s lot more we can, and will, do including developing our own JKHTC clothing range.

“I’m excited about the future but also pleased that we’re making such a positive difference to so many lives.”

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