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Lynn’s story

“Volunteering is so worth it for your mental health and for your soul”

Lynn Bruce, 49, lives in Cardowan, near Stepps in North Lanarkshire. Lynn, a stroke survivor, says becoming a community support volunteer for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has transformed her life.

Lifechanging stroke

I had been living in Perth, Australia for 10 years, but after I had a stroke in 2016 I came back to Scotland to be closer to family.

Eight months after my stroke, I developed epilepsy. I’m now two years seizure-free because of my medication.

I’m no longer able to work as a phlebotomist and now all my time is devoted to voluntary work for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and Epilepsy Scotland.

I had been in a stroke support group run by Elaine Fisher in Shettleston, Glasgow. I got such a lot from the other people in the group but also from talking to the volunteers.

Becoming a volunteer

I became a Kindness Caller with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland after going through the training and I call two people every week.

I speak to one on the phone and the other by Zoom and it’s wonderful.

Each of them is young to have had a stroke, so I feel as though I’m helping them adjust to their new life. I think it’s important that I’ve had the same experience that they are going through.

What I enjoy most about volunteering is giving something back. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has done so much for me personally that I want to repay that.

I hear and see the appreciation and happiness in the voices of the people I’m speaking to.

When they know I’m going to call them a call the following week, I know how happy that makes them feel. That fills me with joy. It’s not only benefiting them but also me.

I love feeling needed. I hadn’t felt that in a long time and now I do.

Volunteering is so worth it for your mental health and for your soul. It’s good soul food. Volunteering resonates and sends ripples of positivity throughout everyone involved.

Charity challenge

I applied to be part of the HEADS: UP research program at Glasgow Caledonian University, which helps people who have had a stroke. I was one of only 10 people picked to attend.

I completed the course, and it made me very aware of how important mindfulness is. I’m a calm person generally and I’ve always been empathetic, but I would say I’m even calmer and more thoughtful about things since doing the course.

It also prompted me to decide to do a charity challenge.

I have very long hair – it goes halfway down my back – and it’s a big part of how I see myself. But I realised after doing the mindfulness course that my hair does not define me.

So, last September I had my hair cut off to raise money for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and Epilepsy Scotland.

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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