12 June 2019
A guest blog from Jo Aurora, Fundraising Manager at Different Strokes
Ella, pictured left, was a dedicated supporter of Different Strokes. She did a fundraising paraglide in 2012 and made regular donations. Ella had suffered a stroke and knew how important our services were – she wanted to make a difference to other stroke survivors.
It was with great sadness that we learnt that Ella passed away in 2017. Ella was just 40 years old.
Ella with her Mum Marie
After careful consideration and discussion with Different Strokes, Ella’s family decided that the charity would set up ‘Ella’s Fund’ specifically to fund new support groups.
Marie and Vernon, Ella’s Mum and Dad, said: “We lost our beautiful daughter Ella Michelle in March 2017 – just yesterday to us. She had suffered a stroke earlier in her life and through that had become involved with Different Strokes as a fundraiser, particularly as it helped young people find their way again through various forms of rehabilitation, following on from what she knew was a shattering experience.
“It was her lust for life that we were most proud of and her giving nature towards others – she wanted to give others that second chance.
“As a family we were delighted to learn of the contribution that Ella’s modest legacy has made in setting up and supporting national groups within Different Strokes. What Ella did has inspired both of us to make yearly donations to ‘Ella’s Fund’ and leave a legacy in our wills. Keep up the good work!”
The life-changing impact of strokes
Stroke is a life-changing event that occurs quickly and with no warning leaving survivors bewildered, shocked and scared – this is where we step in. Most of our team at Different Strokes have been affected by stroke personally and we all pick up the phone to support younger stroke survivors on a daily basis.
We pride ourselves on facilitating amazing peer support and whilst we are small (with only seven mostly part-time members of staff) our reach is big – every year we support thousands of families affected by stroke at a younger age..
We have 40 volunteer-led groups across the UK. Our volunteers are usually the beneficiaries of our services in the past, so they know first-hand how important this support is when dealing with the aftermath of a stroke at a young age.
One of our volunteers Lisa runs a group in Kent. Her group was set up with funding from ‘Ella’s Fund’. Lisa says: “When I first discovered Different Strokes I was so relieved to find people who understood the struggles and frustrations of experiencing a disabling stroke while relatively young. The group gives everyone the opportunity to talk about their own personal experiences of stroke which is proving to be very therapeutic for everyone. Turning my own experience into something positive for others has become part of my own healing process.”
Pass on something wonderful
Every gift left in a Will that we have received in our 20-year existence is extremely special to us. Knowing that someone believed in our mission and wanted to see our work continue after they have gone is very powerful.
If the work that we do is important to you, you can help us by leaving a gift in your Will. We want to make sure we are here for the next generations of younger stroke survivors and your legacy can help us to continue to do this.
For more information about Different Strokes and leaving a gift in your Will, please contact Jo Aurora, Fundraising Manager at Different Strokes, on 0345 130 7172 or email email@example.com