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The Buzz > Stroke survivor thought she'd never get another Christmas with her family

Stroke survivor thought she'd never get another Christmas with her family

Paula, a wife and mum of two, was only 29 years old when she had a stroke. One minute she was ceilidh dancing at a friend's wedding and the next she was on the floor.

At the hospital, Paula's husband kissed her goodbye as the doctors and nurses took her away for treatment.

"I told him, “I love you”. And I said tell our little boy, William, how much mummy loves him," says Paula.

"I thought I was going to die. My husband did not know if this was the last time he would see me alive."

Paula was only 29 years old when she suffered a devastating stroke.

When I woke up the next day, doctors told Paula she'd had a stroke. Her right arm and leg weren’t working, and she couldn’t walk.

"My stroke affected my whole life. I had little hope for the future. My little boy was only two when I had my stroke. Not being able to pick him up and hug him broke my heart. It was devastating."

Life on hold

The couple had planned a cruise for Paula's 30th birthday and were hoping to try for another baby soon.

But the doctors told Paula these plans had to be put on hold. Travel and pregnancy were just too high-risk.

"Every day I asked the doctors if I would walk again, and they would say the same thing to me: “We don’t know.”

"I cried all the time. I felt guilty for surviving and felt so hopeless," adds Paula.

Paula's right arm and leg were affected by her stroke, leaving her unable to walk.

But then Paula met stroke nurse Lyndsey from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. This support gave her the anchor of hope she desperately needed.

"My stroke nurse Lyndsey helped me see that I could find my happy again. This was the lifeline I needed to help me move forward in my recovery."

Christmas is a time to be thankful

"Each day I have a grateful heart that I get to celebrate these special moments with my husband and children. There was a time when I could never have imagined I would be here to celebrate another Christmas with the people I love," explains Paula.

"Not only have I had the enormous pleasure of helping William, who is now eight, write his letter to Santa for the last six years since my stroke, I have also had the incredible gift of becoming mum to Erica, who is now three."

Paula says the memories she is now able to treasure with her family are only possible due to the supporters of the charity that helped her recover.

Paula is so thankful to be able to celebrate Christmas with her husband and two children.

"As a family, we don’t need to imagine the help and support that Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland gives to thousands of stroke survivors every year as we have lived through it. All of this was only possible thanks to your generous donations," she says.

"Now I am helping others create their own treasured memories of Christmas, too, because now I am proud to work for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, this special charity that has helped get me back on my feet."

Giving back

Paula now works for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and is so proud to help other stroke survivors just like her.

This Christmas, she is asking the charity's supporters to donate whatever they can to make sure other families like hers are able to receive this vital help.

"We cannot change the past, but your support means we can help give someone a more hopeful future.

"Thanks to your kindness, we can keep that vital support going, year on year. You can make not only this Christmas but many more to come so special for so many people in need.

"Please, give what you can to give the gift of hope to more families like mine this Christmas. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

If you would like to donate to help stroke survivors like Paula this Christmas, please visit chss.org.uk/appeal

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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