Tuesday 26 September 2017

Anne Copeland

Champion of the cause of a better quality of life for stroke survivors

ANNE Copeland, who was the driving force behind the Volunteer Stroke Scheme, died peacefully at home in Raheny, Dublin surrounded by her family on August 2, 2011.

Born on December 4, 1952 in Gortletteragh, Co Leitrim to Anna and Michael Reynolds, Anne saw the devastation that the disease wreaks on people when her own father suffered a stroke. Anne devoted herself to helping stroke survivors achieve a better quality of life for almost three decades.

Initially Anne was a lone crusader in the quest for action to tackle chronic deficits in stroke services and supports. However, her tenacity and sheer force of personality forced official Ireland to sit up and take notice.

After joining the fledgling Volunteer Stroke Scheme (VSS) to help transport stroke patients, she quickly became a driving force behind the organisation, eventually taking on the role of chairwoman. Anne developed the VSS into Ireland's biggest and most influential organisation providing support to survivors of stroke -- our third biggest killer disease.

Anne also gave vital assistance to many of the other support groups that have since been established across Ireland. Under Anne's leadership the VSS also played a crucial role in uniting stroke physicians, nurses, therapists, patients and volunteers under the banner of the Irish Heart Foundation's Stroke Council. As a member of the Council from its inception, Anne was a key contributor to the development of the campaign that is now saving the lives and transforming the quality of life of stroke survivors in Ireland on a significant scale.

Anne received the Stroke Champion Award at the Irish Heart Foundation's inaugural Irish Stroke Awards in 2010 for her unsurpassed contribution to the cause of stroke survivors. Her legacy is the greatly improved acute stroke services that make a vital difference for so many people.

Anne is survived by her husband Adrian, whom she married in 1978, and their two sons, Aaron and Adrian.

Sunday Independent

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