The parents of a 21-month-old in Brackley who can suffer up to eight epileptic fits a day, are backing an attempt to raise thousands of pounds for research into the condition.
When Joshua Atkins of Holly Close was three-and-a-half months old he suffered his first seizure. And after spending a week at the John Radcliffe Children’s Ward family friend Simon Boisselle-Osborn decided to take action.
On Saturday, October 6, he will perform a tandem parachute jump at Hinton-in-the-Hedges Airfield in an attempt raise at least £2,000 for Epilepsy Research UK.
Mum Paula said: “Joshua had his first seizure at home. It was extremely shocking. As far as we were concerned we had a health baby son, and didn’t have any reason to think any different.
“It all started on his left side, in his face around his eye and mouth then spread to his arm and leg. I just couldn’t work out what he was doing. I just screamed to my husband Darren and we called an ambulance.”
Mrs Atkins said there was no history of epilepsy in the family and she was only aware of the symptoms through what she has seen on television and hopes their story will highlight the need for continuing research.
She added: “Children with epilepsy can grow out of it, but Joshua has had 15 different types of seizure, so the chances of him growing out of it is small.”
Mrs Atkins said she was touched by her friends willingness to help and added: “Obviously we’re touched by the fact he’s prepared to do this for us. The more money raised for epilepsy research the greater the chance for finding a cure, if not a cure, something that can improve Joshua’s life and those of the 600,000 people in the UK who have the condition.”
Mr Boiselle-Osborn said: “I’m just excited by the jump at the minute, but if I do panic I will just remember Joshua’s constant smile and the way he has coped with this. He’ll be my inspiration.”
A spokesman for Epilepsy Research UK said 75 people were diagnosed with the condition every day and over 1,100 die each year as a result of epilepsy, yet the condition receives little publicity and even less research funding.
Mr Boisselle-Osborn’s employer, the Banbury based clutch manufacturer Tibbets Group, have agreed to match his fundraising. To make a donation visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/SimonOzzyERUK.