For #VolunteerWeek2020, Sara has shared her story of volunteering with Epilepsy Action.
“I have been a volunteer with Epilepsy Action for around twelve years and in 2015 became an Accredited Volunteer. It’s been so rewarding to visit schools and businesses to raise awareness of living with Epilepsy.
“I had seizures almost daily until the age of 30, when thankfully they became controlled. It was a few years later that I decided to contact Epilepsy Action, as I wanted to support other people going through what I had experienced. When I joined, I was extremely shy and my confidence was low, as my epilepsy prevented me from going out and in turn my friendships were limited.
“I met Ann from Epilepsy Action and she asked me to join the Abergavenny Coffee and Chat group. That first meeting changed everything. My confidence grew. I loved talking to other people about our shared experiences.⠀
“In 2017 I won a volunteer award and after this I decided to train to become a counsellor. I’ve completed the course and need to finish 15 hours of volunteering in a counselling setting. Once Covid-19 has passed, I’ll do this and be qualified. I know without the support and encouragement from Epilepsy Action, I would never have had the confidence to do this.⠀
“In my work I support parents of children with disabilities and many of the children have epilepsy. It helps I can empathise with their situation and I regularly signpost them to Epilepsy Action. One parent had little support, so I sent her the link to the virtual groups organised by Epilepsy Action and she said it was a great initiative, especially during lockdown. She doesn’t drive so would have difficulty getting to a group in the city. Another little boy was having trouble accepting his epilepsy so I sent his Mum the links to the children’s videos. These really helped him understand his feelings.⠀
Making that phone call to Epilepsy Action was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I feel privileged to be part of the volunteer network.”