Rachael Santos and Danielle Kennet were nominated for the award by their mum, Belinda Abbott who says they have shown her that “life is worth living”.
Belinda’s epilepsy started in recent years. She experiences regular seizures – both those that cause her to ‘black out’ and temporal lobe seizures that cause altered awareness. Her epilepsy has caused her to have lots of injuries and made her lose confidence. As well as this, they have caused Belinda to develop severe anxiety and agoraphobia. At one point, she was unable to leave her house.
Rachael and Danielle have been an unwavering support to their mum. They have researched ways for Belinda to keep safe and helped her manage her epilepsy medication. More than this though, they have helped Belinda reach a point where she can leave the house. Following several accidents around the house, Danielle and her husband moved into Belinda’s home to support her. Rachael visits every day,
Belinda says: “If it wasn’t for my daughters, I would never go outside. No one tells you how much epilepsy affects your mind. It has left me with loneliness, cuts and burns, no confidence, agoraphobia, anxiety, depression, headaches from hell, dizziness, memory loss and much more. I have felt some people who I was close to moving away. They are embarrassed by my seizures. That has been hard. I can’t always speak well, I fall over my words and can’t make myself understood. So I had stopped talking to anyone I didn’t know. My girls speak for me when I can’t.
I have five children who are all fantastic and love me very much, but Rachael and Danielle have picked me up and helped patch me back together. They have shown me that life is worth living again. I cannot thank them enough.”
Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action said: “Rachael and Danielle have shown remarkable care and dedication towards their mum. We are delighted to recognise them as the heroes they are with this award. We know that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. It is brilliant to hear stories of people like Racheal and Danielle making the world better for those with epilepsy.