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​​​​Sharon's Story

Sharon Newall will celebrate two great love stories this Valentine's Day.

The first story spans nearly 35 years with her beloved husband Mark, the man who has been Sharon's rock from the day they met and who ultimately saved her life. 

The second story dates back to Valentine's Day 2013, the day Sharon met Western Health physiotherapist Angus Campbell, the man she credits with helping her to walk again.

In December 2012 Sharon suffered a stroke and was rushed to Footscray Hospital after a quick thinking Mark recognised the signs.

After driving Sharon to the Footscray Hospital Emergency Department, Mark rushed inside to seek help but by the time he and the medical staff got back to the car, Sharon was unresponsive.

With the help of a nearby ambulance officer, Sharon was pulled from the car and staff commenced CPR. Once stabilised, Sharon was taken into surgery where it was discovered that an ulcer the size of a golf ball had burst in her stomach, causing her organs to shut down and a lack of blood supply to her brain.

The mother of two spent the following three weeks with a gastric feeding tube and tracheotomy to aid her breathing and was barely able to move.

“She was in a very bad way,” Mark said. “It’s something you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy.”​​

Three weeks after Sharon was admitted to Footscray Hospital her gastric feeding tube and tracheotomy were removed and she was moved to a ward as she slowly started to show signs of improvement. 

On Valentine’s Day 2013, Sharon was moved to the Rehabilitation Ward at Sunshine Hospital to begin the long process of learning to walk again. Sharon, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, was determined to regain her independence.

“My main goals when I arrived at Sunshine were to be able to take a few steps, to be able to feed myself, and to go to the toilet on my own,” Sharon said.

“And I was determined to achieve those goals. I can still remember the day I stood solo for the first time – it was the 18th of February 2013. It might not seem like a big deal to most, but to me it meant the world." 

Sharon was discharged from hospital exactly 100 days after she suffered the stroke and continued with her rehabilitation. Just before Christmas 2016, Sharon's hard work and determination paid off as she started to walk again unaided.

Sharon recently paid an emotional visit to Sunshine Hospital to show Angus, that thanks to his unwavering support in the early stages of her rehab, she can now walk again.

"I wasn't your average patient because I don't walk like most people do, so he took the time to listen to what worked for me” Sharon said.

“If he hadn’t of opened that lock four years ago while I was laying in the bed at Sunshine (rehab) I would never have walked again.”

“He is the reason I’m walking today and I'm so grateful for that." 

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Leon's Story

 ​For Leon and Jess Weir, this Valentine's Day will mark an important milestone in the journey to mending Leon's broken heart.

The 35-year-old father of three will undergo an Electrophysiology Study at Sunshine Hospital after suffering three heart attacks in three years.

Leon currently wears a LifeVest – an external defibrillator worn by patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

Wife Jess has also had cardiac problems of her own, undergoing surgery to correct a hole in her heart as a toddler.

"We say two broken hearts make one heart, so that's why we bond so well," Jess told Seven News. 

Visit the Western Health Foundation Facebook page to see Leon and Jess's story on Seven News. ​​

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Sharon and Leon have shared their stories to help raise funds to assist Western Health staff in providing the best care possible for the people of Melbourne's west. Your contribution will help patients like Sharon and Leon receive the care they need and help them on the road to recovery. Thank you for your support.