From left, Gillian Mallon Customer Advisor at Pavers in Bloomfields, with Clare Watson from Epilepsy Action NI.
The Pavers Foundation has donated £2,000 to Epilepsy Action Northern Ireland (NI), to help fund their vital services offering support to those living with Epilepsy. Gillian Mallon, Customer Advisor at Pavers in Bloomfields, applied to support the charity to help raise awareness of the condition.
Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain, where an individual tends to have epileptic seizures. Anyone can have a one-off seizure, but this doesn’t always mean they have epilepsy. Epilepsy is usually only diagnosed if a doctor thinks there’s a high chance that the person could have more seizures. Epilepsy can start at any age and there are many different types. Some types of epilepsy last for a limited time and the person eventually stops having seizures. But for many people, epilepsy is a life-long condition.
In Northern Ireland approximately 20,000 people have epilepsy.
Gillian got in touch to tell us about her experience with Epilepsy and why she chose to support Epilepsy Action NI:
“In September 2015, my daughter Nikki turned 20 years old and had just qualified to be a hairdresser; a happy go lucky girl with her life in front of her.
On 27th September 2015 she took a seizure, the first one in her life at 12.00pm on a Sunday afternoon. By the time the paramedics arrived she’d had 4 more.
By 10.00pm that evening in A&E Dundonald Hospital the consultant made the decision to put Nikki into an induced coma. She was in this for 8 weeks and spent weeks after this in the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit at Musgrave Hospital. She eventually got to come home on Christmas Eve.”
Epilepsy Action NI works to raise awareness and increase understanding of epilepsy, campaigning for a better future for people with the condition and supporting people through a large network of volunteers, branches and groups. The charity organises and hosts information events for those living with epilepsy and for health professionals.
The donation from the Pavers Foundation could help to fund the charity’s Freephone Helpline in NI, which answered 236 calls from across the region in 2018. Each call that the Helpline receives costs £17.62, meaning over a year the service costs £4,827 to run.
The Helpline service is highly valued by service users, and the charity has received amazing feedback, such as: "I was feeling very isolated because I keep having side-effects to the drugs. I felt as if I was being difficult. Now, having spoken to the advisor, I feel like I have a plan and more options to discuss when I have my hospital appointments. I also know now about a support group in my area and a nurse specialist to contact. I think you are wonderful, thank you for being there when I needed advice and support."
‘‘We are very grateful to Pavers Foundation for their wonderful gift towards our helpline and local support services, which we know make a life-changing difference to people with epilepsy and their families in Northern Ireland.’’Paul Walker, Fundraising Officer at Epilepsy Action
“Nikki is still having lots of seizures and it has been a very long road. The main reason for the donation to Epilepsy Action NI is there is very little awareness of this condition and people just haven’t a clue what to do in the situation, we had never given it a second thought until Nikki took ill, and now it is a way of life. I trust that this donation will help to promote the charity.”Gillian Mallon, Customer Advisor at Pavers in Bloomfields
To find out more about the amazing work of Epilepsy Action NI please visit www.epilepsy.org.uk.