I'm 49 years old and was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1997. In 1999 I had surgery to treat my epilepsy. This had made a vast improvement to my condition. It was after this that I became more interested in the world of epilepsy. In 2002 I was medically retired from the National Health Service because of my condition. I worked as a nurse on a paediatric intensive care unit. I had problems with my short term memory and I had started to have simple partial seizures again. So along with support from my manager I made the decision to take retirement. This made me realise it is important that people who live with conditions like epilepsy “stand up and be counted”. Although I had a supportive manager, Epilepsy Action’s helpline supported me by listening.
I became an accredited volunteer for Epilepsy Action raising awareness and supporting people with epilepsy. From 2006-2008 I was on the Council of Management. It was then I learnt just how valuable the organisation is and that the people who live with epilepsy can make a difference to the way we are represented. One way we can do this is by not letting epilepsy hold us back. I am involved in my local community and sing in a church choir and a barbershop chorus. Doing these activities helps me accept the issues that come along with my epilepsy.
The current changes in the NHS are of great interest to me. I think that we should all take an interest in what is going on so we can make our voice heard. I recently took part in the Take Epilepsy Action awareness campaign when it arrived in Liverpool. Raising awareness of epilepsy has to be a top priority for Epilepsy Action and I take it as a privilege to be able to represent the many people who live with epilepsy.