Helping Hands awards: Rebecca

Published: September 20 2021
Last updated: September 28 2022

Rebecca and Danielle became friends less than two years ago, when they shared a flat together as new work colleagues.

Danielle nominated Rebecca for a Helping Hands award, and she is the first of our amazing winners.

“In May 2019 I had a massive first-time seizure and nearly died,” says Danielle. “After being in hospital for eight days, I went home to a very different life. I had no idea just how much my life was about to change. I lost my job, my driving licence, my business.

I applied for my dream job in radio. It meant moving to England from Northern Ireland, sharing a flat with a colleague called Rebecca. Then I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I didn’t want to burden her, but Becs was totally unfazed. So, we moved in together, but my seizures increased and I had an allergic reaction to the medication. In lockdown, Becs became my rock and carried me through some of the darkest days, as I tried to understand the unknown thief called epilepsy that had sabotaged my life. I would genuinely not be here without her.

18 months in, I am still changing meds and some days are horrendous. Becs has cried with me, she has held me and has sat with me for hours while I have twitched and my speech and memory has gone. She has helped me when I’ve had absence seizures, zoned out while cooking and burnt myself. She has even worked with my neurologist when I’m having a bad week, which has helped them tweak my medication and ultimately restore my health.

When we moved in together we barely knew one another, yet Becs has consistently laid her life down to help me get past this awful experience and has never complained once. ‘Hero’ doesn’t even scratch the surface of this woman’s greatness.”

Accepting the award, Rebecca said, “It was a real surprise and an honour to be nominated and to win this award. Throughout the last couple of years, I’ve watched my friend come to terms with the diagnosis of epilepsy and I’m really glad I’ve been able to support her. Thanks to Epilepsy Action for the award and for all the great work you do.”

Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action said: “Rebecca has shown incredible care and compassion in supporting Danielle at such a difficult time in her life. We are delighted to recognise and celebrate her. We know that the past 12 months have been so difficult for people, in so many ways, and that’s what makes our heroes even more remarkable. It is an honour to share these stories, of special people like Rebecca, who make the world better for those with epilepsy.”