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My name is Gary Greenan. I’m a husband, a dad and a grandad and now a stroke survivor but I’m still Gary, and I’m fighting to find the way back to ‘me’ again.

Every day is a challenge because every day I meet the new version of me. 

I had a heart attack when I was 47. More recently I’ve had two TIAs (or mini strokes), followed by two strokes.

But I am determined that what has happened to me won’t define me. 

There’s a lot of the old Gary in both of us. We both believe life is not a dress rehearsal, there’s no second act.


Thanks to you and the support I’ve had from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, the new Gary is learning to live again.

Thanks to you and the support I’ve had from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, the new Gary is learning to live again and to do new things – but with limitations the old me never had to worry about.

I consider myself lucky because I had my family alongside me. Anne rolled up her sleeves and took on the challenge of helping my recovery. Her dedication is extraordinary. She is my shining star.

But we wouldn’t have come so far without another shining star in Fiona, the stroke nurse from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, who brought light when all around seemed dark.


It’s thanks to the generosity of people like you that Fiona was there when I needed her most.

People like Fiona make CHSS a special charity – and people like you who dig deep to donate are the ones who make that possible, please give whatever you possibly can to give people in Scotland the hope and the help they need this Christmas.

Fighting to find the way back to ‘me’ again

“But being hit twice by stroke has changed everything.”

I’ve been active all my life. As a kid, I was passionate about martial arts, then skiing and flying, too, always looking for the next challenge. When I met my amazing wife Anne, I threw myself into being a husband and a father to our two wonderful daughters, Lisa and Sarah.

When I was 47, I had a heart attack. It was unexpected and scary. Doctors never did find any explanation for what happened. I got on with life pretty much as before, although no more skiing or flying.

But being hit twice by stroke has changed everything.

The very worst moment happened in January 2021 when I was on the phone to my brother. My daughter Lisa and grandson Connor were with me and saw stroke hit in real time, my face “melting” as Connor later put it. This was the classic twisted mouth and drooping face on one side that stroke often causes.

Nothing is the same

They were so scared and so was I. What a thing to see happen to your dad and grandad in front of you.

I was left with weakness on my left side that persists to this day, but worse was the depression and anxiety. I felt very alone and afraid. What would happen to me if I couldn’t recover?

Before this, I had had no idea of the effect of a stroke, but it is devastating. I don’t feel like the same person I was. I feel like an imposter in my own body.

“Thank you for making a difference this year and every year.”

Thank you for making a difference this year and every year.

Fiona was there when, unfortunately, I had a second stroke in June 2021. Luckily again I had my family to care for me, and because of the support people like you give to CHSS, I had Fiona by my side.
I want everyone affected as I’ve been to have a ‘Fiona’ by their side. She was such a calming presence for me and gave Anne confidence in what she was doing for my recovery.
Fiona encouraged me to write down what I was feeling, and that unlocked something in me. I used to write poetry when I was younger, but I hadn’t done that in a long time. One poem, “In the blink of an eye”, explains how I feel about the new version of me, still recovering and changing every day. Nobody has the same experience of stroke, we all come out of it in a different way.

But with the help CHSS offers, we can get our lives back in some way. I am a work in progress. I always will be. But I’m getting there – I’m even getting ski lessons again so I can ski with Connor.

I want my grandson to have better memories of me than seeing my face “melt”, I want him to have happy and joyful memories especially at this time of year.
Words cannot express how grateful my family and I are for all you do in support of CHSS.


Thank you for making a difference this year and every year. Happy Christmas.




Will fund a call to our Advice Line nurses for anyone worried about the effects of stroke.

Donate £10


Will give someone one hour of vital one-to-one help with a support worker to get back to enjoying life when they come home from hospital.

Donate £20


Would help train a volunteer kindness caller to make sure there is always someone at the end of the phone for people in need of help.

Donate £40


Your gift will mean that someone can attend an online support group for three months, helping them cope with the emotional and physical impact of stroke.

Donate £50

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