Helen’s subarachnoid haemorrhage story

Helen died from a subarachnoid haemorrhage in November 2016, aged just 56.

In the months leading up to her death, Helen experienced numbness down one side of her face, which came and went.

Her widower Steve does not know whether this was related to the brain aneurysm, as the majority of subarachnoid haemorrhages occur without symptoms beforehand.

The day she died, fitness fanatic Helen woke up with a numb headache. It didn’t stop her from going to the gym, but she didn’t feel up to doing her usual exercises.

As she was leaving the gym, a brain aneurysm ruptured, causing a subarachnoid haemorrhage. Helen collapsed and died instantly.

Steve said: “To lose the person you love at just 56, completely out of the blue, is very shocking. It was just absolutely terrible.

“Helen was an absolute powerhouse, you couldn’t find a photo where she wasn’t smiling. She was a much loved and extremely popular person – 400 people attended her funeral.

“She truly lived up to the saying that the best get taken first. She left a lot of people completely upset and puzzled as to how
someone so fit and active could pass away.”

Helen was incredibly fit, having completed the London Marathon in 2012, and had no other health complaints.

After Helen died, her sisters hoped to get themselves checked for possible brain aneurysms in case there was a genetic or hereditary element, but said they were unable to do so.

Steve said: “Helen’s symptoms weren’t painful or debilitating, but she definitely knew something was wrong, no question, and was worried.

“It seems there are fairly straightforward things which could be done if a brain aneurysm is found, or treatments which could have a positive impact.”

Helen saved three lives when she died by donating her organs.

Helen’s story is one of the case studies in The Brain Charity’s report on the delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis of neurological conditions. Read our It’s all in your head report here.