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.