We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy


Beth Dobbin and Imogen Clark – new ambassadors

24 Sep 2018

Epilepsy Action is proud to welcome two new ambassadors for the charity, record breaking sportswomen Beth Dobbin, 200 metre running champion and Imogen Clark 50 metre champion swimmer.

Beth and Imogen are two young athletes with promising futures in their sports. They also have something else in common, they both have epilepsy.

ClarkImogen was diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy at the age of 14, and was initially advised that she would not be able to continue swimming. Despite the advice of her doctors, and the wishes of her mother, Imogen kept swimming. Four years after her diagnosis, Imogen has a won a silver medal in the European Championships. The new record time she set sees her ranked fourth in the world, and as the ninth fastest performer ever in the event.

Even this achievement was not without its own barriers though. When Imogen won her medal, she realised the award ceremony would mean the arena would be pitch black, have twirling lights, and 25 photographers with flashing cameras. This would have been a huge problem for Imogen’s photosensitive epilepsy.

Imogen, her team manager and team doctor spoke with the event managers so this could quickly be changed before she walked out for the medal ceremony. Fortunately, everyone was very cooperative to Imogen’s request for support. The arena helped by turning the lights on, which meant photographers didn’t need to use flash photography.

Imogen’s first act as an ambassador for Epilepsy Action has been to sketch a doodle for National Doodle Day. Imogen is a keen artist, and enjoys painting between swims. Recently, Imogen visited the Epilepsy Action office in Yeadon to discuss how she could help other people with epilepsy. When we talked to her about Doodle Day, she was immediately on-board and created a doodle.

dobbinLike Imogen, Beth was also diagnosed in her teenage years. At 13 years old, Beth experienced a seizure so severe she lost all movement on the left side of her body and was unable to talk, walk or recognise her family. Beth was diagnosed with epilepsy and given medication which controlled her seizures.

Beth remembers that she struggled to talk to anyone about epilepsy and felt that she did not understand her condition. This and the constant worry of having another seizure, led to Beth experiencing anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She also developed phobias of things she believed could trigger her seizures.

As her first seizure left Beth unable to walk she had to take a lot of time off athletics before returning slowly to running. In these early stages, her initial performances weren’t very good. After a couple of months of coming off her medication, her performances improved. She went from not being able to make teams at the English Schools Champs to winning a silver medal.

Having accepted her condition and refocused on athletics, Beth has this year beaten a 34-year Scottish record and been crowned British champion.

Both Beth and Imogen have overcome huge barriers and are well on track/ target to achieve success in their sporting careers. We look forward to working with them both to raise awareness of epilepsy, and work for a better life for everyone affected by epilepsy.

Comments: read the 4 comments or add yours


Wishing both Beth and Imogen all the best in this role.

As an epilepsy sufferer for 45 years, it was always my wish to be one of your Ambassadors, and regrettably had to turn this down recently.

May you continue to support us all and make epilepsy more aware!

God Bless!

Submitted by Lesley Donnelly on

Well done for your great achievements in your sports and for sharing your epilepsy sports achievement. I started to only learn to swim at the age of 30 years old due to having a seizure in the local swimming pool when i was about seven years old which put myself off swimming for a long time and after learning to do some basic swimming lessons i began to get a little bit better but i had a seizure which put myself in hospital for five days and thinking i was okay i went swimming and had a seizure in the swimming pool and went under the water in the shallow end and i made the short walk home and got in the house and had Status Epilepsy and whilst I’d still love to swim It’s always in the back of my mind that it will happen again but i started training in Taekwondo with lots of people around me and it was shortly after that I became a media volunteer for epilepsy action which has helped me a lot. I’m posting a bit about my sport as well
Andrew Jackson
My name is Andrew Jackson and i have had epilepsy for 39 years since the age of 3 years old through having measles. Nine years ago i had a very serious and life threatening seizure known as Status Epilepticus which i nearly lost my life too and i was admitted into hospital for 6 weeks and still having seizures whilst in hospital which was due to working long hours. My journey with British Taekwondo came about one year later when i was allowed to drive again and i found a nearby Taekwondo club which I went to watch and then the following week i decided to become a member of. Even though my coordination is good in lots of other areas i did struggle with some techniques and exercises which is due to the part of the brain that was affected and therefore it took myself longer to learn techniques or patterns than other people. I always have aimed for manageable goals such as passing the next grading and after lots of hard work i gained my Blackbelt and i passed my 3rd Dan grading last November and i also passed a Level 2 coaching course. I enjoy doing Taekwondo as well as the reasons Taekwondo has helped myself it can help others as there is so many benefits to be gained through this excellent sport and two of my children also train in Taekwondo.i have been asked about the sparring side of Taekwondo and i mention that we have full body armour on but there is a risk for anyone regarding sparring but there is so much to Taekwondo such as patterns,fitness, coordination and also meeting new people.

Submitted by Andrew Jackson on

I had simular experience daily to this young lady, but wasn't confined to being unable to move my body at all down one side or the other. I always recovered from multi-fits after being injected with diazepam, but instead of being encouraged to live life to the full, I was banned from sports and swimming, and put on more and more drugs that piled on weight and made hungry, and sleepy, therefore I've had no life whatsoever, from the age of 11yrs, I am now 49yrs. I am rid of multi-fits but have the occaisional very short blank. Is there any way I can get some support like her that will give me a breakthrough before I die? Or is life pointless, and dependant on pills that kill you eventually?

Submitted by Julie Duffy on

Hi Julie

That’s good to hear that your major fits have stopped. But it can be hard to balance out seizure control and side effects can’t it?

Most people with epilepsy will need to stay on their epilepsy medicine in order to have the best seizure control possible.

It sounds like things are tough for you. Maybe there is something in the range of support that Epilepsy Action offers, that might help. Meanwhile hopefully you’re talking to your GP about how you’re feeling.



Epilepsy Action Helpline Team


Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on
Question about your epilepsy?

Your question will be sent to our helpline advisors.

Have a comment about this page?

All comments are reviewed by a moderator before publishing. Comments will be edited or deleted if they are offensive, libellous, slanderous, abusive, commercial or irrelevant.

We ask for your email when you make a comment through this website. This means that we can let you know directly that we have replied to you. By making a comment through the website, you allow us to use the comment in our publicity without using your name. If we would like to use your name, we will email you to get your permission.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
3 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

e-action newsletter

Subscribe to our e-action newsletter and stay informed

Subscribe to e-action newsletter feed