In February 2019, Rachel was working hard as a classroom assistant in Widnes, Cheshire, when she began to experience extreme fatigue.
One day, the 46-year-old was so tired when she came home from work that she lost her balance on the stairs, fell and broke her ankle.
After being discharged, Rachel started experiencing severe headaches and was rushed back to hospital, where doctors discovered she was having a brain haemorrhage.
Rachel spent 2 weeks in a coma at The Walton Centre, and had to learn to walk and talk again.
She said: “The first thing I remember from when I came out of the coma was seeing my husband.
“While I was at the Walton Centre, I had to relearn to walk.
“But to be honest, I didn’t think I would be here anymore, so every day is a blessing.”
Since the brain haemorrhage, Rachel struggles with communication as her speech can become slurred when she is fatigued.
It can be a struggle for her to be understood by her elderly mother, and by members of the public who are not used to hearing someone who has had a brain haemorrhage speak.
Rachel had found solace in spending time with other people who have faced similar issues at The Brain Charity after discovering our service via our staff who are based at The Walton Centre.
She said: “There have been times I’ve been really frustrated and angry with myself as I haven’t been able to get my words out.
“Being able to talk to people who had already gone through what I had gone through years before showed me I had a future.”
Rachel joined The Brain Charity’s craft club and has been taking part in our online art sessions during the COVID-19 lockdown.
She said: “Before my brain haemorrhage, I had no interest in art, school had made me hate it.
“Now, it is amazing to make new friends who are in a similar position to me and learn how to get creative.
“It has been a lifeline, particularly during COVID-19. The Brain Charity’s online activities have been fantastic.
“It means a great deal to me to be in touch with people like me. It shows me that I’m not alone.”
Rachel has also joined our phone befriending service as a volunteer, her first form of work since her brain haemorrhage, and so far has been providing weekly calls to 5 people.
She said: “My phone befriending role at The Brain Charity gives me a purpose.
“I enjoy getting to know new people, some of whom I have experiences in common with – meaning I can relate to them very well.”