Something you take for granted when you have it, then cling to desperately when the medical tables turn.
I guess I’ve been pretty lucky in the twenty-three years I’ve been on this earth to count my numbers of hospital visits and days off school/work on my fingers. Although common sense told me otherwise, my health never seemed like something I needed to actively maintain.
My thinking about this began to change last year. Somebody close to me (a healthy person) had a fit, and after these continued, was diagnosed with epilepsy. Typically, I realised how little I knew about this condition, and was shocked by the stats that a simple Google search immediately turned up.
Epilepsy affects around 1% of the global population (though one in fifty of us will have it at some point in our lives), with 80% of those affected living in developing countries. Despite ongoing research, in most cases the cause is not known, and a third of those with epilepsy don’t respond to the medication currently available.
Last year, I spontaneously decided to enter the Hackney Half Marathon in May. After speaking to a number of charities, I donated the £500 I raised in sponsorship to Epilepsy Research UK, the only charity in this country exclusively dedicated to researching epilepsy. It seemed like a good time and way to start taking health seriously, both others’ and my own.
This year, I’m running the Brighton Marathon in April for the same cause. The event is only twelve weeks away, and I can’t deny that I’m feeling extremely daunted by my self-set target of doubling both the distance and the fundraising figure I achieved last year.
Money is tight for most of us (I live in London and am only really semi-employed at the moment), but I hope that by writing this blog about my experiences over the next three months, I’ll convince a few of you to share what I’m doing, and invite your acquaintances to donate. I’m not after huge amounts from every person, but if lots give a little then collectively we can make a difference to the individuals and institutions pushing every day to combat this intrusive condition.
Thank you for reading. More to follow soon…