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News > You saved me: Michelle’s story

You saved me: Michelle’s story

Michelle and her mum both had a stroke within days of each other. Sadly Michelle lost her mum and after returning home on her own Michelle felt trapped and alone. She felt like giving up until she met Claire from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Because of your support, you’ve helped to make sure that people like Michelle don’t have to face recovery alone.

Michelle Whitelaw, 67 from Ayr, felt lucky to be right by her mum’s side when a massive stroke took her life.

The only reason Michelle was in hospital – when her mum was rushed through the doors of the same emergency room – was because she had a stroke just days before her mum’s.

“I kissed mum’s forehead and told her how much I loved her as she slipped away from me,” explains Michelle. “I hope it was a comfort to her, even if she didn’t know I was there.”

After losing her precious mum, Michelle felt trapped and alone. She didn’t know how she would cope without her mum in her life or if she had the strength to get better.

Michelle felt like giving up, until she met Claire from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.


“I first met Claire on the hospital ward and I told her about losing mum just days after my stroke. The pain just came flooding out.

“I felt guilty that my mum had died, that I wasn’t there for her when she needed me most.

“Claire understood what I was going through and made me feel like my life wasn’t over.

“I went to her support group in hospital and I found just speaking and listening to other stroke survivors helped a lot. It gave me hope.”

After nearly a fortnight in hospital, Michelle was discharged early to go to her mum’s funeral.

“Saying a final goodbye to mum that day was so hard”, Michelle says. “I came back to an empty home that we shared together just weeks before.

Watching my mum take her final breath was the most painful experience of my life

“All I had were the memories we shared in that house. Our photos of special occasions on the wall, her empty room that still had her clothes, her comforting smell.”

Michelle felt like she was about to hit rock bottom but her Hospital to Home hero Claire was there for her throughout.

You gave me hope

Michelle said: “If I needed Claire, she was always there for me. She got me on my feet again and gave me confidence in myself that I never thought possible.”

And even in lockdown, when Michelle was shielding alone and couldn’t leave the house, Claire was there for her in her darkest and loneliest days.

“Hearing Claire’s voice on the end of the phone is what kept me going. And when I was running out of food, Claire made sure that through the charity’s Kindness Volunteers, I got weekly shopping dropped off at my door.”

Your donations and support fund Claire’s work. Because of you, Michelle and so many others in

Scotland who are affected by chest, heart and stroke conditions do not have to face recovery alone when they leave hospital.

Donations from you make all the difference, and all the money raised stays in Scotland. Donate here at

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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