O’r Galon: Annwyl Bawb
This is a fantastic programme made by Welsh teenagers about their experience with epilepsy. The programme was originally aired on S4C on January 11th, 2011
The death of her cousin at a young age due to epilepsy motivated TV producer and director Medwen Roberts to try to raise the profile of the condition, especially among young people.
The documentary Annwyl Bawb (Dear All) in the series O’r Galon (From the Heart) is part of her campaign.
“Epilepsy doesn’t receive much attention, and generally, those who suffer from the condition are reluctant to talk about it,” says Medwen, who lives in Ruthin. “All they want to do is to carry on with their lives.
“It’s a condition which often affects young people. Many of those who have epilepsy are in their teens. Research shows that young people are frightened of revealing they have epilepsy because they don’t want to be perceived as different, and are frightened of losing friends. They also live in fear of doing something which causes embarrassment while they’re having an attack.”
Living with epilepsy
But in the programme Annwyl Bawb we’ll follow five young people who have decided to share their experience of the condition with each other. At first, they communicate with each other by creating a Facebook page, but later on, they decide to meet face to face to enjoy each other’s company and have a chat.
“Meeting each other like this is quite unusual since sufferers generally don’t want to talk about the condition,” says Medwen. “It’s not an easy thing to do. I think they’ve been very brave. They’re wonderful,” she adds.
The five who come together are Catrin Mair Davies from Chwilog, Rhodri Siôn Foxhall from Talysarn in the Nantlle Valley, Diane Rowlands from Bethel near Caernarfon, Eirian Rowlands from Caergeiliog, Anglesey and Steffan Owen from Colwyn Bay.
Another key person who appears in the documentary is the only specialist epilepsy nurse in North Wales for the over sixteen age group, Sheila Lewis. “Sheila is an amazing person,” says Medwen. “And her relationship with the young people is important to them. She is available to them 24 hours a day, and as Sheila herself says, it’s more than just a job.”