So along comes the day I had been looking forward to, the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards. I was very much looking forward to an evening out and hearing some inspirational stories. I rested up on the day and the day before and I managed to last the whole evening. I wanted this to be a totally positive post but in the interest of being honest and painting a true picture of life with epilepsy I have to be honest and say that however brilliant the night was my epilepsy and pregnancy sickness being what it is I had a really horrible episode at 2am, and as ever I’m grateful to Chris for being there. I clearly am doing too much even when I do next to nothing but I shall leave the negative at that. It was a much needed night out with my sister and husband just taking time out to relax.
I want to say thank you to the Young Epilepsy Team, a few days before I had an email saying they had reserved me an aisle seat so I could get out during the ceremony if I needed to. This was very thoughtful and greatly appreciated. Well it was either that or they just didn’t want me throwing up on the carpet! :-)
This was the third annual Champions awards which fell on Purple Day, an international day to raise awareness of epilepsy, and what a fantastic way to celebrate. An uplifting evening celebrating the achievements of the Champions and nominees. It was a chance to come together and hear their inspiring stories. The ceremony was hosted by news reader Nicholas Owen, other celebrities included Olympian James Cracknell, Eastenders actors Cheryl Fergison and Himesh Patel, athlete Dai Greene and footballer Leon Legge.
I sat through the awards with a lump in my throat, the stories that we listened to really were enough to pull at your heart strings. Everybody there deserved an award in my eyes, I didn’t envy the judging panel one bit. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners, each and every one of you are inspiring and deserved to be there. The thing that struck me the most was that nobody felt they deserved to win, everybody else thought somebody else’s story was more inspiring etc. None of the finalists felt they were doing anything special but were simply getting on with things in the best way they knew how, it was very humbling.
The list of winners were as follows:
Supporting the Community Award- celebrates the achievement of a group or individual who is working to support the wider epilepsy community by providing support, resources and a network for families:
Zoe Reid – for her commitment to supporting young people with epilepsy in Edinburgh
Best Practice Award – celebrates professionals who have encouraged people to work together locally in innovative ways to make a difference to the lives of young people with epilepsy
Tessa Walker – for always going the extra mile to support children families affected by epilepsy
Community Impact Award – recognizes an outstanding group or company which has made a significant and lasting impact on the lives of the young people who attend St Piers School and College
Santander Consumer Finance – for the projects they have completed to enhance the Young Epilepsy campus
Discovery Award– celebrates individuals or teams who have led research that has driven new thinking or practice to make a significant difference to individual lives of young people with epilepsy
Dr Sameer Zuberi – for his outstanding contribution to genetic research in epilepsy
Shaping Better Futures Award – celebrates the achievement of those who lobby or campaign on behalf of young people and children with epilepsy and has championed reforms that make a difference
Epilepsy12 – Dr Colin Dunkley & Calvin Down
Speaking Out Award– recognizes an organization or individual making a significant contribution to raising awareness of epilepsy
The Daily Mirror
Guiding Light Award– celebrates those special people who go the extra mile to support and inspire someone with epilepsy. Our guiding lights are the grownups wo shape young lives.
Ann-Marnie Row – for being the superhero teacher for Toby and making his school the best place to be
My Champion Award– celebrates those special people who go the extra mile to support and inspire someone with epilepsy. My champions are the special friends who inspire young lives.
Tre Pearce – for being a tower of strength and sacrificing his own life to support his partner and baby daughter
Bravery Award- presenting the special award for bravery to one young lady who represents many young children living with and caring for a parent or family member with epilepsy
Sienna Alderley – for going above and beyond to save her Mother’s life and bravely calling 999 whilst she was having a seizure
Bright Star Award – celebrates someone with epilepsy aged 17 and under who is an inspiration to their family and those around them because of the obstacles they have overcome.
Ben Wilson – for demonstrating bravery and courage
Shining Star Award– celebrates someone with epilepsy aged between 18 and 25 who is an inspiration to their family and those around them because of the obstacles they have overcome.
Alyce-Jayne Stockdale – for not letting her seizures get in the way of her life
Inspirational Champion Award– celebrates the achievements of a young person with epilepsy, aged 25 or under, who is truly inspirational and whose efforts have had a wide reaching impact.
Owen Thurston – for his commitment to raising awareness of epilepsy and funds to make life better for others
The wine flowed (orange juice for me!), people mingled and laughter could be heard as finalists and guests took time to get to know each other. I had a fantastic evening and met some amazing people. I had the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones, meeting with Clair who I had connected with via my blog. I also had the chance to meet with Shannon from Young Epilepsy who was lovely and really helpful before, after and on the night. From a bloggers point of view I have also connected with others blogging about various issues relating to epilepsy and it is nice to see the community that is out there, hopefully between us we have all issues covered! :-) However I did also mean to chat with others that I didn’t get the chance to – for example Ash who along with James is rowing 3600 miles across the Indian Ocean to raise funds for Young Epilepsy and two other charities. Take a look at their webpage: www.nothings-impossible.co.uk like I say there were some pretty inspirational people there that night!
For me I was a little star struck when I realised Dai Greene was there. He suffers with epilepsy and when I was considering whether I could do a marathon he was one of the inspirations that pushed me towards it. So what does my husband do? Disappears across the room and comes back with this man who I consider a hero of mine! I have to say thank you to Dai for both having a photo and taking the time out of his evening to talk to us. On the Young Epilepsy Awards he had this to say:
“It was an absolute honour to be a part of the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards. The stories I have heard tonight have really touched and inspired me, congratulations and thank you to everyone out there working tirelessly for young people and children with epilepsy.”
My Champion: Alex
I was there that night as a finalist, blogger but also in support of my friend Alex who I nominated for the My Champion Award. Alex didn’t win either, of course in my eyes she should have. This is my chance to publically acknowledge everything Alex does for me. We met because of epilepsy back in early 2012, but we soon became firm friends. Alex has taught me that it is possible to keep going in the very worst of circumstances and long after you think you can’t and she has supported me in ways I will never be able to repay her for. She is the person who when the idea of this blog first floated into my head pushed me into writing it, and I am pleased she did. Alex is also the person who takes time out of her week every week (even in the middle of her university finals) to proof read my blogs, to give an honest opinion, encourages me when I’m not always finding it easy to write and just listens when I bounce ideas about, we have joked that she has become my editor as well as my friend! Friendship isn’t the big things it’s the million little things and that sums up Alex perfectly. So thank you Alex for everything you do and award or no award you will always be my champion. (And no I am not deleting this before you ask!)
Making a difference
So as most of you know I didn’t win the award but I am eternally grateful for being nominated never mind shortlisted, as we heard on the night there were hundreds of nominations and I made it to the final four in my category, and I’d like to thank those who nominated me for thinking I was a worthy nominee and then Young Epilepsy for even considering me a strong enough contender to make it to the final four!
I always said if this blog helps one person or makes a difference to one person that I would be happy and have done what I set out to do. After my last blog Chris received a message and its one that has made me smile and made me incredibly proud of what I am achieving and means as much as any award. Thank you to that person for getting in touch and telling us about this incident, its nice to know we are helping.
Thank you to everybody who takes the time to read this blog, and please know you could make the difference to someone who really needs your understanding and awareness.
My names Faye, mostly known for being a tea addict and keen runner and swimmer. I'm 32, married and I had my 1st child in June 2015, oh and I also happen to have epilepsy. This is my story of Pregnancy, Motherhood & Epilepsy.