Margaret Horan

Ten years ago, Margaret Horan’s life was turned upside down when she had a stroke. She was unable to carry on her volunteer work and found herself feeling increasingly isolated. Margaret has now been a member of Think Ahead for four years and regularly takes part in the events and trips that we organise.

Her bubbly personality has meant that she has made many new friends and she likes to support them wherever she can – even bringing oranges for half-time at Think Ahead’s annual Sports Day. A keen performer, Margaret impersonated Marie Osmond at a ‘Stars in their Eyes’ themed afternoon at our monthly group meeting and other members are regularly treated to her renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’.

“I have met so many new people who understand the challenges that I face every day. With a circle of fantastic friends, Think Ahead has turned my life around and I am passionate about making sure more people know about the amazing work our charity does,” says Margaret.

Martin and Jean Culkin

Martin Culkin was a full-time carer for his wife Jean when he suffered a stroke. Jean has had multiple sclerosis (MS) for many years and the couple found it difficult to get out of the house and needed support with day-to-day living. Feeling lost, Jean turned to Think Ahead after being given a leaflet by Martin’s GP.

Prior to his stroke, Martin had been a very active person. He worked as a maintenance manager and, when he retired, volunteered on a MS support line. When they first became members of Think Ahead, they attended the Self Care for Stroke Programme to get practical and emotional support, advice and information for living with stroke. Now both in wheelchairs, transport is one of the biggest challenges faced by the Culkins. Think Ahead runs regular day trips that give the couple access to the support they need to get out and about.

“No stroke is the same and, no matter how a person is affected, Think Ahead is here for stroke survivors and their carers,” says Martin. “When we got involved with the charity, we stopped feeling like we were on our own.”

Brian and Keith Gobin

Brian Gobin was flying to visit his sister in Australia when he suffered a stroke. The plane had to make an unplanned stop in Perth, where Brian stayed for several weeks before being transferred back to the UK.

“Prior to the stroke, Brian was a very active person and always enjoyed being in the open air, whether walking or running,” says his brother Keith. “After his stroke, he became isolated and lost his confidence. His niece did some research online and came across Think Ahead. We went to have a look around the Stroke Information Centre and spoke to some of the staff.”

When Brian and Keith first became members, they attended the Self Care for Stroke programme. The pair now enjoy the various activities and group meetings that we organise and have made new friends.