accessibility & help

‘Luke gave me the confidence to go out’

Anyone who’s in their eighties and undergoes heart surgery will need a bit of support to get back on their feet – which is why Theresa Allen turned to us for help.

The 82-year-old, from Southsea, had to spend a month in hospital following a major heart operation.

After being discharged, she initially stayed with her daughter for a while. But – fiercely independent – she was keen to return home and start looking after herself again as soon as possible.

‘Bit scary’

Still, it was obvious that she’d need a bit of support in those early weeks.

And since none of Theresa’s family live locally, her daughter asked the British Red Cross support at home service to lend a hand. Soon enough, Luke Godfrey appeared on the doorstep.

Theresa said: “Luke from the Red Cross came to see me every week, to go walking with me. It may sound like a trivial thing but, when I first came home, the idea of going to the shops was actually a bit scary.

“Perhaps because I’d been in hospital for so long, I found my legs wouldn’t obey me. So I was very lucky to have Luke – he gave me the confidence to know that if I did stumble, I would be okay.”

Big help

Theresa hadn’t even known our support at home service existed, but was pleasantly surprised to learn about it.

She said: “You think of all the wonderful things the Red Cross does, such as helping people overseas and during floods.

“But I didn’t think they’d be there for someone like me, who was just afraid to go out. Their help was very beneficial.”

New friends

After four weeks of regular support, Theresa had regained the confidence to go shopping on her own. Luke also introduced her to two local community groups, where she’s started meeting new people.

She said: “Luke made me feel at ease from the beginning: it was like going out with one of my own sons. And those new groups mean that I’m finding a whole load of new friends.”

Luke added: “My role is all about helping people to accomplish their own goals, and it’s been so satisfying to see Theresa get her confidence and independence back again.”

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