Helping Hands awards: Rossi

Published: September 23 2021
Last updated: September 28 2022

Rossi is 14 and lives in Seaton, Cumbria.

He has been awarded a Epilepsy Action Helping Hands award for performing first aid when he saw a stranger, Ray, having a seizure in the street in June this year.

Rossi ran to help when he saw Ray, 40, having a tonic-clonic seizure, cushioning his head, making sure he was safe and calling an ambulance. He even stayed with him once the ambulance arrived and said the first aid he’d learnt at school the week before made a big difference.

“When I saw him having a seizure I just wanted to help. It was the first time I’d seen someone have a seizure but I just did what I had to do. It’s great to receive the award and it was just good to be able to help him. I’d tell anyone to take some time to learn first aid – it doesn’t take long to do but it can make all the difference.”

Rossi’s quick-thinking and bravery is the reason why he has won a Helping Hands award.

Ray, who was diagnosed with epilepsy in his early teens, had been seizure-free for 26 years but started having seizures again in 2019. He doesn’t get any warning and said all of his recent seizures have resulted in him needing hospital treatment. After the seizure where Rossi helped, Ray needed surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone.

He said: “Rossi, thank you for everything: from the first aid to ringing the ambulance and for making sure I was ok. I will be thankful to you for every day of my life for what you did. If he hadn’t stepped in that day, I’d have been lying there for much longer, confused about what had happened.

I work at Asda and recently helped a customer who was having a seizure in store. I know it can be scary to see someone have a seizure, especially if they’ve injured themselves. It’s been difficult for me for my seizures to have returned after so long. I’m trying to get on with it, but it’s always at the back of my mind that I might have a seizure again in public. I just want people to know that there are things they can do to help, like Rossi did, that will make all the difference.”

Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action said: “We know it can be very worrying for people with epilepsy to have a seizure in public, not knowing how people will respond or react. Rossi’s quick-thinking and compassion made such a big difference for Ray. We are delighted to recognise him and celebrate his bravery with this award. We know that the past 12 months have been so difficult for everyone and that’s what makes our heroes even more remarkable. It is an honour to share these stories, of special people like Rossi, who make the world better for those with epilepsy.”