Meaghan O’Brien suffered a stroke at just 22 years of age. Meaghan, who is originally from Boston but now lives in Dingle, was in the gym when she recognised F.A.S.T. symptoms of a stroke. She was rushed to hospital by helicopter to have life-saving treatment.
“I was in ICU and surrounded by doctors and machines – it was so scary. I couldn’t do anything – I couldn’t sit up, go to the toilet or move my head.” Meaghan’s family was given the devastating news that she would never walk again. But she was determined to recover.
“When practising walking up and down the corridors, I was surrounded by people in their 70s and 80s. I asked myself, ‘why am I here?’. It was such a shock to me.”
Now 32, she has defied doctors, regaining the ability to walk again and returning to her IT job. Last week Meaghan became a Patient Champion for the Irish Heart Foundation.
The Patient Champion programme has been developed to provide heart and stroke patients around Ireland with the tools and training to amplify their voices in fighting for the needs of themselves, and fellow patients at local and national level.
“I’m here for those stroke patients now, to support them. It was so beneficial to me to get official training on how to use my experience to make a difference. I was often ‘wheeled out’ to tell my story, but now I feel I have the training to give meaningful impact.”
If you’d like to learn more in joining Meaghan and her fellow graduates, in becoming a Patient Champion, in making our country a better place for heart and stroke patients and their families, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our Advocacy Campaigns Manager, Pauline O’Shea on 087 3810726.
Tags: Irish Heart Foundation