WHEN Kelly-Marie Hearsum found herself in a dark place, it wasn’t someone close to her who helped, but a complete stranger.
And now she’s returning the favour by offering a listening ear and helping hand to others in need.
The 26-year-old said: “I’m just doing what I can to help someone out there. If we all did the same, I think it would be a much nicer place.”
Seven years ago, Kelly-Marie, from Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, was suffering from anxiety, after a breakdown in the relationship with her partner.
“I wasn’t in a good place in my life,” she said. “And I thought about joining the Navy, not really because I wanted to be in the Navy, but it was an escape route, a chance to run away from it all.”
But it was then that Kelly-Marie met a stranger online who proved an invaluable support and helped her through the tough time.
“The lady was a psychic,” she said. “I was pretty sceptical at first, but she was actually the perfect person to speak to.
“A complete stranger, not a family member or a friend. I found it easier to confide in and talk to someone I didn’t know.”
Soon after, Kelly-Marie had herself – and her life – back on track.
And it was then that she met her partner, with whom she now has two children, Alexander, four, and Leigha, two.
“I have such a great life now – and I’ll always be thankful to that woman I never knew who helped me through.”
In recent years, Kelly-Marie has turned to doing good deeds, in a bid to provide a lifeline to others in need.
She and Alexander have completed fun runs to raise funds for mental health charities, and collected cash for a local girl with cancer.
And a few months ago, she set up a Facebook page (search for Kelly The Act of Kindness) dedicated to inspiring others to do a good deed.
Kelly-Marie’s current project is collecting donations to make winter packs for the homeless, which she plans to distribute to people on the streets of Glasgow on December 1.
“I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like sleeping out on the street in the dead of winter,” she said. “I can’t solve the problem of homelessness, but I can do my bit to help.”
Each pack is different, but they all contain toiletries, warm jackets and jumpers, bottles of water and something to eat.
“People have given things like towels and even rucksacks – probably something we take for granted, but when you have so few possessions, you want to keep them safe.
“I’m also asking people to write a message, something uplifting. It’s not much but could be the thought that helps them get through their day.”
She’s also using the site to spread the word about an anti-bullying campaign.
“I was bullied at school, she said.
“I think everyone is to some degree – and it really can affect your life.
“You feel lonely.”
Kelly-Marie added: “The Facebook page is a way of reaching out, encouraging people to do a good deed for others – but I also offer a listening ear to anyone who needs it. Sometimes someone just taking the time to listen can make a huge difference.
“I have found walking helps me a lot, so I go out at least once a week and offer if anyone wants to join me.
“It’s nice to have company and someone to chat to – and exercise always makes you feel better.”
She added: “I often look back and think about what my life might have been like if I hadn’t been helped by that stranger.
“Now it’s at its best.
“I have a home, a loving partner and two beautiful children and that makes me feel very lucky.
“Some people don’t have that.”