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Cheryl Firth’s Stroke Recovery Fund

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On the 3rd of February 2024, just 4 weeks after my girlfriend Cheryl celebrated her 30th birthday, she suffered two strokes caused by blood clots on the left side of her brain.

After finishing work as Company Stage Manager for ‘Cowbois’ at The Royal Court in London that evening, her symptoms came on fast: vision loss, right side paralysis, slurred speech and confusion. She was admitted to Charing Cross Hospital in London but after receiving a clear CT scan, they attempted to discharge her with a diagnosis of a severe migraine. With a gut instinct that something was wrong, we fought them to keep her overnight and give her an MRI to be sure.

This confirmed our worst fears; that night she had suffered not one, but two strokes.

The strokes caused damage to her Thalamus (the information relay centre of the brain) and the Cuneus (vision processing). This has left Cheryl with weakness down her right-hand side, vision loss in the right eye, loss of co-ordination, sensory defects in her face, as well as cognitive processing effects, and extreme fatigue.

Things continued to get scarier when the consultants made the decision to discharge Cheryl with no ongoing support. It felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath us at a time when she was her most vulnerable.

The NHS is incredible for many reasons, but it is very scary and painful when someone you love falls through the gap of the flaws in the system and is left feeling unsupported and alone with a life changing diagnosis, when there is nothing you can do to help.

Waiting lists for rehabilitation and diagnostic investigations for the cause of strokes are at minimum months, sometimes years on the NHS. Stroke recovery is time-sensitive, making waiting lists even more detrimental.

The first 3-6 months following a stroke are crucial in a survivor’s recovery. The quality and consistency of the treatment a stroke patient receives in this period is crucial in determining how quickly and how well they recover. Cheryl is a quarter of the way through that time, so what happens next is of vital importance. We have therefore taken Cheryl’s recovery into our own hands and begun seeking support from private clinics and rehab centres, which is racking up bills much higher than we could have ever anticipated.

Right now, Cheryl’s full-time job needs to be rehabilitation and rest. She has made incredible strides towards recovery in the last 6 weeks but there is still a long way to go. As a self-employed person in the Arts, coming off the back of the pandemic and living through a cost of living crisis, it is very difficult to take advice to recover and rest, as time off work simply means loss of earnings and financial vulnerability. But we do not want Cheryl to return to work before she is ready and able to, simply because she cannot afford to take the time to recover.

We are very grateful to be members of Equity who have been fiercely supportive of Cheryl and I; and secondly, fortunate that we were both working for the RSC at the time, allowing us to reside in Stratford-Upon-Avon whilst Cheryl recovers, alongside unmatched kindness and care from both organisations.

Anyone who knows Cheryl will tell you what a caring, intelligent, and hard-working person she is. She makes everybody feel safe, will make you laugh until you wet yourself, and is, above all, kind. I may be biased, but I think she is the most incredible person in the universe. Always the first to help when somebody needs her, but this time, she needs you.

This GoFundMe page is to support Cheryl’s recovery, getting the therapy she needs as quickly as she needs it. The funds will go towards her immediate outgoings including, rent, bills, loss of earnings, physio therapy, mental health therapy, travel expenses, home physio equipment, medication, consultations & medical treatments to supplement NHS support.

Cheryl’s life has very quickly been turned upside down, and she is doing all she can to make sure she comes out fighting even stronger than before. She just needs your support to get her there.

If you made it to the end, thank you for reading. I know it’s a lot to take in. I cannot put into words how grateful we would be for your support, but if you cannot donate a share of the page to social media will make a difference too.

Thank you, Charlotte & Cheryl xx
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Donations 

  • Ishia Bennison
    • £50 
    • 17 d
  • Stephen Firth
    • £50 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • £15 
    • 1 mo
  • Aislinn Jackson
    • £50 
    • 1 mo
  • Eve Kerr
    • £50 
    • 1 mo
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Fundraising team (3)

Charlotte Jaconelli
Organizer
Cheryl Firth
Beneficiary
Tom Xander
Team member

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