Meet the Londoners working to make a meaningful difference in our community
Passion: Heart & Stroke Foundation
AS A YOUNG mother with a toddler and newborn, Sandy Arnold was shocked to wake up in the hospital six years ago and learn that she had suffered a heart attack and had been in a coma for almost three weeks.
In addition to the physical impact, her memory was also affected. “Initially, I didn’t know my husband; I didn’t even remember that I had children,” she says. “And when I was able to go home after three months in Parkwood, I was really struggling.”
Arnold says she is thankful that right after her heart attack, Parkwood and the Heart & Stroke Foundation came together to provide information and support to her husband. She was also able to rely on Heart & Stroke workers during her transition from hospital to home life.
“They provided help that really fuelled my recovery,” she says. “I didn’t know how to tackle housework—something as simple as making dinner was overwhelming. They came to my house and would help me plan the meal, take me grocery shopping and even help me cook it. Having the support really turned my life around.”
Two years ago, when Arnold learned the organization was looking for canvassers in her area, she was happy to help. “I became very successful at canvassing, and last year they asked me to share my story at some of their events. Earlier this year, I spoke at the closing rally dinner for local canvassers.
“Before I had my heart attack, I thought Heart & Stroke only funded research. I didn’t know about all the support they give people during recovery. But I have no doubt that without it I would not be able to look after my children, be back at work part-time or function the way I do. I would have been lost. And they’ve told me that there is no time limit—my file will never be closed, so I can still call them if I’m ever struggling.
“People might think, ‘It’s never going to happen to me.’ But I can tell you, if it does, the Heart & Stroke Foundation will be there.”
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