NICHS | COVID-19 Appeal
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"Long COVID isn't going away. It makes me worry about how people with Long COVID will cope and be treated."

Rebecca Logan photo 2

"We all thought we would get COVID, I just never thought it would be this bad. But I was young, I was fit, I was healthy. I had COVID at the start of April 2020 and I'm still not back to work and nowhere near back to normal."

40-year-old Rebecca Logan, a busy mum of two from Dundonald in Belfast was working as a bank nurse and taught 12 fitness classes a week before she took ill with COVID-19.

"I was working in COVID ED and, at the time, my family were saying to be careful! But I thought, it’s alright I’ll get it and I’ll be fine, because I’m fit and healthy, and I didn’t have any underlying conditions. Had I known it was going to be like this, I wouldn’t have ever wanted to work there,” says Rebecca.

At first Rebecca became dizzy and lost her sense of taste and smell. When she took a test and it was positive, she wasn’t overly worried, and thought that’s just how it was going to be for a few days, but by day fourteen, when she expected to feel better, she was a lot worse.

After five weeks Rebecca was still not feeling better. 

“The fatigue was horrendous, I developed joint pain and headaches, dizziness, brain fog…the list goes on.”

“I wasn’t ever admitted to hospital (thankfully!) but had to go to A&E a couple of times with my breathing. They wanted to admit me, but I pleaded with them. I just wanted to be at home.”

Months later, Rebecca’s symptoms were still ongoing. COVID has become Long COVID;

“I got breathless when I was tired. Some days I would wake up exhausted and the breathlessness would be there all day. The main thing was the pain and the fatigue. It was just awful.”

Rebecca joined Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s brand new Long COVID Recovery Service.

“It was fantastic. We learnt breathing and relaxation techniques, and they got me into the habit of doing them regularly, which was really beneficial.”

“The Long COVID Service didn’t take the symptoms away, but it helped me to manage them better and gave me the tools to do that. I learned to set goals, goals that I was accountable for. Initially, my goal was to do 10 minutes of mindfulness three days a week. I soon realised the benefit of doing this to manage my symptoms. Teaching us to pace ourselves, to do the deep breathing and a body scan, these are techniques I still use every day”.

“It was great to talk to others who understood what you were going through, a relief to know that you weren’t on your own. Up until then, nobody had really taken any interest, outside of close friends and family. The girls in the group were all a similar age, I never thought ‘Oh I’m really young here’. We could all relate.”

“The NICHS staff were always there, pointing me in the right direction.

Rebecca photo

“Your friends and family care but they don’t really get it. If you’ve had a really bad week, you’d go to the group, and it was encouraging to hear that you weren’t the only one! Or if you’ve had a good week, you could share your success.”

Rebecca is currently recovering slowly at home with the help of mobility aids and implementing the techniques she learnt through the programme.

“After the programme ended, I felt I wanted to do a fundraiser for NICHS, so my husband and daughters organised an outdoor quiz for my street and raised £170.”

“I can’t get my head around the fact that a charity is leading the Long COVID support here. I don’t think people realise how important it has been. It’s given me a lift, and even though I’m not 100% better, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

"NICHS’s Long COVID Recovery Service receives no funding and relies almost exclusively on public donations. Please send a donation today to help them continue to provide this vital service. There are so many people like me who need their help and care."

21,000 local people are currently suffering with Long COVID, a life-altering illness.

There is no dedicated recovery service in Northern Ireland to help.

That’s why we set up our Long COVID Recovery Service.

Pauline Millar

My name is Pauline Millar, and I head up the Respiratory Services provided by Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS). Life-changing services that are only possible thanks to our supporters.

When the pandemic struck, our small respiratory team of five people here at NICHS immediately recognised the long-term and often grave after-effects of COVID.

We anticipated people may not recover from the virus as quickly as expected. Hospital respiratory and GP teams would be so busy on the frontline, people would have few options for longer term support. We knew that our existing Breathing Better support service had helped people regain their respiratory health, and we could adapt it to help people with post COVID-19 symptoms.

Our COVID Recovery Service is a one-of-a-kind programme. It was officially launched in July 2020, initially as a pilot scheme, it is now incorporated into our Breathing Better Service. It is currently the first and only support programme to help Long COVID sufferers here in Northern Ireland.

It costs £126 per week for someone suffering from Long COVID to attend our life-changing service.

A donation of just £10, or whatever you can afford, will mean someone like Rebecca will have the opportunity to receive the help and support they so desperately need.

Our unique COVID recovery programme receives NO funding. Indeed, almost 90% of our services are funded exclusively by public donations. We rely greatly on our supporters to help us keep caring for and supporting our local community.

  • At least 80p in every £1 raised or donated is spent delivering our life-changing care and prevention services, as well as funding local research into these illnesses.

    How does NICHS spend donations?

    Thanks to our loyal supporters we raised more than £3.35 Million last year to support our programmes across Northern Ireland.

    £1.39 Million was spent on delivering our care support programmes, £576k was spent on delivering our prevention programmes and £736k on local research into chest, heart and stroke related conditions.

    In other words, for every £1 raised, around 80p, went directly to funding our care and prevention programmes as well as research to help fight chest, heart and stroke conditions.

    How you can help

    Over 335,000 people in Northern Ireland are living with chest, heart and stroke conditions, and these illnesses are responsible for 37% of all adult deaths every year. That's almost 6,000 people. Every day across Northern Ireland 11 people will suffer a stroke and 17 will have a heart attack.

    With your support we are able to continue our vital care and prevention work across the community, caring for people who are living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and helping prevent people becoming ill in the first place.

    Support us today and help us lead the fight against chest, heart and stroke illnesses across Northern Ireland.


  • What is Gift Aid?

    Gift Aid is a scheme that allows charities to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, which means your donations will be worth 25% more to us at no extra cost to you. If you Gift Aid your donations we can claim back from the government 25p for every £1 you donate to Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke.

    This additional income really does make a big difference, so please don't forget to Gift Aid donations if you are a UK tax payer.

    You could make your donation to us NICHS worth even more!

    Whether you are making a cash donation, setting up a regular gift, or asking friends and family to sponsor you in an event, your donation could be worth an extra 25% thanks to the Gift Aid donations scheme. Last year, we were able to reclaim over £74,000 through donations that were gift aided which contributed towards our care and prevention programmes.

    Gift Aid Calculator

    How it works:

    Under the Gift Aid scheme, if you are a UK taxpayer, the Government allows charities to reclaim 25p of every pound you give – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny! With your permission NICHS can re-claim this tax on your behalf.

    Once you’ve read the Gift Aid statement and are happy you can comply with it, simply tick the Gift Aid box to say you agree that NICHS can reclaim tax for you. If you’d prefer to complete a paper version of our Gift Aid Declaration form and post it into our office, you can download a pdf version by clicking on the button below.

    If you’d like to find out how much more your donation would be if it was Gift Aided, just use the calculator below.

    Click here to download a Gift Aid Declaration

    What we need to claim Gift Aid

    • Your full name and home address
    • The donation amount you are giving. We can accept cash also.
    • We can't claim Gift Aid on donations from company accounts. The donation must be your own money and not the proceeds of a collection.
    • For you to confirm that you pay income tax or capital gains tax which at least equals the amount NICHS and other charities and community amateur sports clubs will claim in the appropriate tax year (6 April one year to 5 April the next). This is currently 25p for every £1 you give.
    • Using the declaration form, we can claim Gift Aid on all your donations in the last 4 years and all future donations.
    • Once you have become a Gift Aid donor, please let us know if you stop paying tax or if you change your name/address so that we can update our records.
  • If you would like any further help, or have any questions, please contact Supporter Care on 028 9026 6743 or

  • The work that we do is only possible because of the generous donations that we receive from our supporters. You are very important to us. Thank you so much for helping us in the care and prevention of chest, heart and stroke illnesses across Northern Ireland.

    When you make a donation to Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, we promise that :

    • Your donation will be used wisely, responsibly and for the purpose given.
    • If a donation is made for a specific purpose we will honour that request.
    • We will safeguard your personal information in line with Data Protection principles.
    • We will communicate with you in accordance with your wishes.
    • Queries or complaints will be responded to as quickly as possible.
    • Administration costs will be kept to a minimum.
    • Your support will be acknowledged and we will keep you updated about how you are helping people who suffer from chest, heart or stroke illnesses.
    • Fundraisers will respect you as a donor and will be transparent in their dealings with you at all times.
    • Fundraisers will work to the highest professional standards and will adhere to the practices and guidelines as directed by the Institute of Fundraising.
    • Where donations are solicited indirectly, i.e. by 3rd party agencies, we recognise that donors have the right to request information about them.

    If you have any questions, please contact Supporter Care on 028 9026 6743 or

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