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News > Pilot project for face-to-face groups is a lifeline for Jacqueline

Pilot project for face-to-face groups is a lifeline for Jacqueline

jacqueline afif support group

Returning to her hometown in Scotland after suffering a serious stroke should have been a positive step for Jacqueline Afif.

But the horrors of Covid-19, prolonged lockdown and shielding left the 56-year-old former nurse isolated, alone and afraid.

Only the loving support and care of her husband Said kept Jacqueline focused.

Now the couple have finally been given a positive boost with the return of face-to-face support from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, part of a pilot project funded by your donations.

Jacqueline says: “Being able to be back among people who understand what I am going through has been such a relief. Knowing we have the weekly support group to return to has made such a difference already.”

A lifechanging stroke

Life has changed dramatically in a short time for Jacqueline and Said.

She was 54 and working as a cardiac recovery nurse at Guy’s Hospital in London when she suffered a sudden stroke. Paralysed down her left-hand side, she spent seven months in a rehab unit.

With Said’s support, Jacqueline decided to return to her hometown of Coatbridge to be closer to her brother and sister, her only surviving family. She made the journey north in an ambulance and then spent weeks in the rehab unit of the town’s Coathill Hospital.

Said takes up the story: “Our accommodation in London wasn’t suitable any longer because Jacqueline needs a wheelchair now.

“She went into Coathill, but they thought she had plateaued in her recovery so she was discharged.

“The Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland support group had to stop because of Covid restrictions and only resumed last week for our first meeting in almost 18 months. The group takes place every Thursday, and it is so beneficial for my wife and for me.”

Supporting each other

“When we moved back to Scotland,” adds Said, “a lot of people didn’t realise how much the stroke had affected my wife. People very slowly disappeared from our lives, and we have to rely on each other. Fortunately, my wife and I prefer each other’s company.

“The support group is lovely because it gives Jacqueline the chance to talk about how the stroke has affected her. Covid has been terrible for everyone but particularly for us. But we have survived it, and now we are coming out of the end of the tunnel and can see the light at last.”

It takes a lot of effort to get out, but the support group is worth the effort.

Jacqueline says she could not have survived the trauma of the last two years without Said’s support.

She says: “My husband does everything for me, and I don’t know where I’d be without him. He cleans the house, makes my meals, takes me to the toilet, drives me where I need to go. He’s been incredible.

“I used to be completely independent. Now it takes a lot of effort to get out, but the support group is worth the effort.”

To find out more about the support we offer for stroke survivors, please visit

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

Your donation can help people do more than just survive – you can help them really live.


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