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Beat the January blues with our top inspirational health stories of 2021

Andy Easton with his fiancee Joanna, who says he is an inspiration to others. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media
Andy Easton with his fiancee Joanna, who says he is an inspiration to others. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media

As the festive period comes to an end and we launch into 2022, it’s normal for the January blues to hit as we return to reality.

In 2021 The Courier covered a range of health stories, from period problems and swollen armpits linked to the Covid vaccine to all the latest information on Omicron.

We also had the chance to showcase heartwarming and inspirational stories from across Tayside and Fife.

We’ve written about a range of health and wellbeing issues that have helped give local people a voice in 2021.

Here’s a selection to highlight the courage, determination and bravery that captured readers’ attention last year.

Speaking out to help others

Carnoustie mum Jamie-Leigh Jones says she was “heartbroken” after being shamed for breastfeeding her infant daughter outdoors.

The new mum was left devastated by a confrontation that took place as she was feeding 14-week-old Willow in public.

Jamie-Leigh and Willow.

Dundee woman Jo Knowlton, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in her 20s, told us she welcomes new research starting in the city.

She hopes the Dundee University project will lead to a breakthrough and a future clinical trial she can participate in.

Jo was diagnosed in her 20s.

Broughty Ferry man Colin Rattray warned others of the dangers of sugar – after losing his leg to diabetes.

Colin, 53, says all ages need to be aware of the devastating effects of bad lifestyle choices.

The former manager of Fat Sam’s nightclub says looking back he was “so stupid” not to modify his lifestyle when he was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2000.

Colin Rattray lost his leg to diabetes.

After giving birth, Martine Curran lost so much blood she went into organ failure and doctors were unsure whether she’d survive.

But a life-saving blood transfusion averted organ failure.

The mum-of-two urged others to come forward and donate blood, to ensure everyone gets the lifesaving emergency treatment they need.

Martine with her family.

Transformational stories to inspire

We all like to hear of triumph over adversity – whether that be overcoming a debilitating health condition or someone transforming their life.

In 2021, we got the chance to tell some amazing stories which inspired you and us.

Andy Easton from Broughty Ferry has turned his life around and told us how!

And 23 years on from his MS diagnosis, he is free of the disease’s physical and mental agony thanks to a healthy lifestyle, eating habits and cannabis.

Andy and his partner Joanna.

Dad-of-three Richard Roncero, 37, was registered homeless for most of his adult life while struggling with a cocaine and alcohol addiction.

But since turning his life around, he has launched charity Steps to Hope. Richard uses his own lived experience to help homeless people also battling addiction issues.

He was in Dundee – sleeping on the street – hoping to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with homelessness.

Newport woman Suzy Ballantyne had a life-changing lockdown tackling multiple health conditions and shedding an incredible five stone in weight.

Suzy is registered disabled and has been battling numerous health issues since childhood.

But her determination to change paid off – transforming her health and fitness.

Suzy has adopted a healthy lifestyle in lockdown.

Thanking the NHS

It has been a tough year for the NHS and staff.

To mark International Nurses Day, we spoke to people on the frontline of pandemic healthcare, to find out how Covid has impacted them and the jobs they love.

Tayside nurses shared the joy of teamwork and how the camaraderie of the NHS helped them get through the tough times during the pandemic.

Nurses from Fife told of the challenges they’d faced and how their NHS family helped them carry on.

And nurses from across both health boards shared how proud they were of the work they’d done, with some returning to the NHS after a break from the career.

The NHS has undoubtedly had a challenging couple of years. But it’s clear that dedicated staff are still working their hardest to help protect our communities.

Don’t miss out!

To read more from the Health and Wellbeing team in 2022, sign up for our weekly newsletter. And if you have a story to tell, get in touch –

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