Epilepsy sufferers in South Yorkshire unite to form support group

Members of the White Rose Epilepsy Group, who are preparing for varioys fundraising events in the new year
Members of the White Rose Epilepsy Group, who are preparing for varioys fundraising events in the new year

Epilepsy sufferers in South Yorkshire who have united to form a new support group are preparing for a busy new year.

More than 300 people have become members of White Rose Epilepsy which aims to raise awareness of the illness and offer support.

Members are preparing to promote the group by taking part in sponsored walks at football grounds in Yorkshire nearly next year.

Donna Bird, aged 43, set up the group in June to help bring local epilepsy sufferers together and ease the feeling of isolation and depression, which many often feel without support.

The Dinnington grandmother said: “No-one prepares you for the other side of having epilepsy. Not only do we live with this condition every single day we then have the added upset of the stigma that is attached to it.

“People just don’t want to know, yet we would love for them to ask questions. It seems the only ones we can talk to is each other.

“When I was diagnosed 28 years ago I wasn’t told anything about epilepsy.

“My mum was told I had it and then given tablets and sent on my way, so I continued living my life normally which to be honest put me in danger a lot of the time.

“We live with fear every single day. Things you take for granted such as having a bath, scare us.

“I have photosensitive epilepsy too which is terrifying - washing the pots and the sun shining on the draining board can set me off, the sun flickering through the trees even the reflection of the sun on the sea. All these things are in our heads all the time.”

Since Donna set up the group, more than 300 people have joined on Facebook, including members from the United States and Mexico, as well as across the UK.

Members of White Rose Epilepsy will be at Doncaster Rovers on January 17, Hallam FC on January 24 and Rotherham United on February 7. Some members will also take part in a 90-mile sponsored bike ride to North Ferriby United’s ground, in North Ferriby, near Hull on January 31.