LETTER: Help for victims of a stroke

Earlier this month Baroness Thatcher passed away after suffering a stroke. She was just one of the 150,000 people who have a stroke each year in the UK – that’s a shocking one person every five minutes. In fact stroke is the third biggest killer in the UK.

But the people who survive strokes often end up with permanent disabilities. More than 250,000 people in the UK are living with severe disabilities caused by a stroke.

Many stroke survivors find it extremely costly and difficult to organise a break - even for just a few days - because of their complicated care needs. As a result, around a third of all people with disabilities have never been able to take a break since they became disabled. This means that their carers are also in desperate need of relief and run the very real risk of becoming disabled themselves.

I work for Vitalise, a national charity providing essential respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers. We run the Netley Waterside House respite break centre in Southampton.

Each year we welcome thousands of people with disabilities and carers to take much-needed breaks with us. They often tell us how important respite breaks are in their lives. Just one short week a year can make the difference between coping and despair, between just existing – and really living.

But we couldn’t do what we do without the generosity and compassion of our supporters and we urgently need your help. If you would like to make a donation to our essential work, information about our essential breaks, or details about how to volunteer for us, please call us on 0303 303 0147 or visit www.vitalise.org.uk.

COLIN BROOK

Senior communications officer,

Vitalise, 212 Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH