Sally’s epilepsy began as a child and has affected, if not dictated, every aspect of her life. Sally experiences a very high number of seizures, at least four or five seizures during the day, every day and as many as 19 each night.
Charlie McGowan is 11 years old. When he was three doctors diagnosed him with autism.
From being a seemingly healthy little boy, at the age of two Charlie lost all his language ability, he wouldn’t allow anyone to touch him and he stopped making eye contact with people, including his mum Kirsty. He would only sleep for one hour each night meaning that he was awake for remaining 23 hours of the day. Charlie would become extremely stressed and repeatedly bang his head, leading to bleeding.
Beautiful black lab Hetty is the first Dual Assistance Dog to be trained in the UK. Owner Tony Brown-Griffin is registered blind and has intractable epilepsy. She says:
Hetty is fundamental to my life. Everything I do is because of her. Without her I’d be stuck.
Lynne Ratcliffe was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1998 following a head injury. Her first seizure alert dog, Dougal retired in late 2014 and last year she graduated with a golden retriever cross, named Simba, as her new seizure alert dog. She explains the impact that Support Dogs has had on her life:
“When my GP suggested it might be epilepsy, I went into denial, it very difficult to accept. The impact of seizures on my everyday life was huge. It affected me and my family quite dramatically, including my two teenage children. I lost my driving licence and the medication I was taking had nasty side effects and never gave me complete control of my seizures.
Fifteen years ago Jackie Evans from North Nottinghamshire was busy vacuuming her home. There was nothing particularly unusual about the day except that on this occasion Jackie found herself lying on the floor looking into her neighbour’s face. Jackie’s young son had called the neighbour for help but Jackie herself didn’t have a clue what had happened.