Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

“NICHS gave me my life back.”

NICHS and Mace – working in partnership to ensure everyone feels part of their community again.

Tracey from Greencastle, Omagh, had only celebrated her 30th birthday 10 days before having a stroke. She had no history of illness or high blood pressure and in hindsight the only sign was that she had had a persistent headache for a few days. But in an instant, Tracey’s life changed. She went to click on the kettle and her arm went numb and wouldn’t work.

Tracey had suffered a stroke which left her with left side weakness and muscle spasms. She was in hospital for 4 weeks. Once she got home she noticed how much her life had changed. She went from being very active and sporty to having to learn how to use her left leg again. She knew she would probably never play camogie again but even getting out of the house to the shops was a challenge.

It shopping, stroke survivor, stroke, mace, nichsdidn’t just affect Tracey…

The stroke didn’t just affect Tracey – it affected her whole family. In the early days, her 9 year old daughter didn’t want to leave her side. It was also hard for Tracey’s parents to accept that their child had had a stroke.

When NICHS’s Stroke Family Support Co–ordinator first visited Tracey at home, Tracey realised she had met someone she could talk to, someone who could help answer her questions. The co-ordinator encouraged stroke survivor, Tracey, to take part in one of NICHS’s Taking Control programmes and to join her local Young Stroke Group. She was by far the youngest there but still really enjoyed it because she was able to meet people who had been through the same things.

Tracey says, “Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke gave me my life back. They showed me that stroke doesn’t have to mean your life is over. Now 5 years later, I am coaching camogie and getting out and about just like I used to. Being part of your local community is something we take for granted. But you really miss it when something happens to you.”

How we help…

Stroke is devastating. It has a huge physical, emotional, mental and social impact on the stroke survivor themselves and their family. Our stroke groups and programmes help people in three main ways. We provide them with physical rehab, we increase their confidence, which often has taken a huge knock, and we provide peer to peer support groups allowing them to meet people in the same boat as themselves.

We rely on donations from the public to fund our rehabilitation and support services and our partnership with Mace is key. Mace’s stores are located in the heart of local communities all over Northern Ireland. They understand the importance of feeling part of your local community. That is why Mace are supporting the work NICHS does in giving people their lives back.

If you would like to make a donation, click here, or visit your local Mace store. #LovingLocal.

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