Life-saving treatment from The Walton Centre inspires athletics club to fundraise

Date: 30 June 2022

GK photos

Christmas 2021, Karen Parry, from Prescot, was making her way up to bed after a work night out when she fell down the stairs, hitting her head badly on the hall floor. Karen was rushed to the Aintree Trauma Unit. From there she was transferred to The Walton Centre for life-saving brain surgery.

Husband Gavin was there when she fell, “It was one of the most terrifying nights of my life. Karen was badly hurt, but I didn’t realise how badly until I was at The Walton Centre speaking to the anaesthetist about the emergency surgery she was going to have. Mr Rasheed Zakaria and his surgical team saved Karen’s life, but they also took the time to calmly and compassionately explain Karen’s condition to me along with the steps they would be taking.”

Karen made it through the surgery and was put in a medically induced coma to allow her brain to recover enough to be woken up later.

Gavin continued, “I was visiting Karen in ICU every day with special permission due to the severity of Karen’s condition. When I came in the day she was being brought out of her coma, I found her dedicated nurse brushing her hair, she said it was because removing the tangles would have hurt her when she was awake. I thought this was very kind and thoughtful. They cared so well for her, it was outstanding.”

The 52-year-old spent over two weeks in ICU, having further corrective procedures before moving to a ward to recover further – spending Christmas in hospital.

Gavin said: “Karen had been assisted into the chair at the side of her bed for our visit which was great to see. At this stage Karen was too weak to spend much much more than half an hour sat upright and we were all really happy to be with each other. It was a lovely visit and we were sad to leave. As on any other day the staff were busy but lovely and kind.”

Then March this year Karen was able to return home, after receiving rehabilitation with the Cheshire and Merseyside Rehab Network, hosted by The Walton Centre.

Gavin said, “Karen was so determined to get better, she’s so tough. She kept getting stronger. The Walton Centre continued to support her. Mr Zakaria, the neurosurgeon who saved her life, sent a detailed letter to her GP to ensure they knew exactly how to support Karen when she did come home.”

While Karen was in hospital, her local running club Knowsley Harriers nominated The Walton Centre Charity as their charity of the year. Karen is Treasurer of the club and an avid running coach. Each month the club hosts ‘The Walton Centre Charity’ 5km run, which encourages members and non-members to donate to the charity. So far they’ve raised an amazing nearly £900 this year, and will continue to do so for the rest of 2022.

Gavin added, “The club has a number of links to the hospital, from other members who have previously been looked after there. We were delighted when they picked The Walton Centre Charity. This was a very frightening time for my son and myself and very much a rollercoaster ride of emotions explained to us when Karen entered the unit. Sadly, Karen remembers very little of her time in the Walton centre but I have reminded her of the wonderful care which she has received. The nurses, doctors and therapy staff are truly inspirational, not only for their professionalism and incredible skills as medical practitioners but they also have the kind of qualities that cannot be taught in a classroom – care, love, kindness, understanding and humanity – they have them in abundance.”

Karen said: "Sadly, I remember little about my time in The Walton Centre due to the nature of my head injury. Gav has spoken to me at length about the wonderful people that cared for me there. I would just like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart.”

Find out more about the Knowsley Harrier’s fundraiser 5km here:

And you can donate to the appeal directly here:



Photos: left - Karen completing the Tour of Merseyside in 2019. Right - Husband Gavin, Karen and their son Nathan.

Notes to editors

Further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact the Communications Team at The Walton Centre on 0151 556 3397 or

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is the only hospital trust in the UK specialising in neurology, neurosurgery and pain services. Although the majority of patients come from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Lancashire and the Isle of Man, for some specialist treatments of complex disorders we see patients from all parts of the country, referred by their GPs or other neurologists, neurosurgeons and pain clinicians.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust was rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. The independent regulator of all health and social care services in England published its rating on Friday 21 October 2016, following announced and unannounced inspection visits to the Trust in April 2016.

For more information please visit: or follow the Trust on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.


The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Lower Lane, Fazakerley, Liverpool L9 7LJ
0151 525 3611


  • Summary:

    Christmas 2021, Karen Parry, from Prescot, was making her way up to bed after a work night out when she fell down the stairs, hitting her head badly on the hall floor. Karen was rushed to the Aintree Trauma Unit. From there she was transferred to The Walton Centre for life-saving brain surgery.