Christmas Appeal 2017:
Rebecca and Matthew explain how raising funds to Young Epilepsy can help young people spend Christmas Day at home, not in hospital.
One moment changed Rebecca and Matthew’s life.
At 6.45am Matthew went into his parent’s room and asked if he could climb into bed for a cuddle before falling asleep.
They were woken suddenly by Matthew having a seizure. He was shaking and jerking, with his eyes open, but he was not conscious.
I ran through whether he had hit his head, had he swallowed something?
The emergency services were called instantly. Rebecca ran to the bathroom to get a cold flannel to try and cool Matthew down. She thought it was potentially a fever but Matthew did not have a high temperature.
My heart sank, I was overcome with fear.
The ambulance was 45 minutes away and Rebecca could only sit and watch as her beautiful young boy was fighting for his life.
I remember screaming at the operator that our son was dying, where on earth was the ambulance.
When the ambulance arrived there was no paramedic available to administer any medication. Matthew went into respiratory arrest as the ambulance raced to the hospital.
The paediatric team were waiting when they arrived. Matthew had been having a seizure for over an hour.
Eventually he stopped, and eight hours later, he finally spoke. We had our baby back.
After numerous scans and tests it was confirmed that Matthew had epilepsy. Their life long journey with the condition had begun.
Following Matthew’s diagnosis Rebecca contacted Young Epilepsy’s helpline which proved an invaluable source of information, supporting the family as they made their first steps towards managing Matthew’s epilepsy.
Since then Rebecca and Matthew have become ambassadors for Young Epilepsy.
Rebecca has created the Young Epilepsy Horsham fundraising group and participated in a skydive and wing walk to raise vital funding for the charity's work at St Piers campus, national projects and research.
Both joined Young Epilepsy, and other charities, in the Houses of Parliament for the 'Rules 4 Schools' and 'Safe in School' campaigns, to tell their story and raise awareness of the importance of individual healthcare plans (IHP) for children in state schools.
With Matthew’s seizures under control they can look forward to Christmas spent with family and friends. While concerns about Matthew having a seizure over Christmas endure, they know Young Epilepsy are there for them when they need it most.
There are 112,000 young people living with epilepsy in the UK. You can help support a family living with epilepsy this Christmas by donating £10 today.