5 year old Owain was diagnosed with epilepsy eighteen months ago. A simple sentence, but a devastating diagnosis not only for him but also for his parents, Ceri and
Jayne. Would Owain grow out of it, and what would the immediate and long term future hold? Not knowing much about epilepsy, Ceri and his family set out to find what information they could. The staff at Prince Charles Hospital were incredibly supportive, and Epilepsy Wales was able to send them information, not only for the parents and family, but also for Owain and the staff at his school.
“It crossed my mind to raise some awareness and also some money”, decided Ceri, and was amazed when friends and colleagues started volunteering to accompany him on a 27.1
mile walk – between the Heath Hospital, where Owain was born, to Prince Charles Hospital, who had treated him following each seizure. “We had 29 people in total on the walk at various stages. We started at 8am and finished at 6.30pm Everyone was suffering by the end, but without doubt, everyone enjoyed it”, recalled Ceri, “Everyone looks back at the day with fondness and pride, and no-one has mentioned the blisters for, well, about 2 days now!”
£5,600 was raised – a magnificent total from friends and family, and generous sponsorship from Turquoise Branding, Floodlighting and Electrical Services, KPMG and Abercynon Rugby Club. Phoenix Community transport ferried the weary walkers back to Heath Park where Cardiff Council Parks Department had let the cars be parked free of charge for the day.
Mike Powell, one of Glamorgan cricket’s leading run-scorers over the course of the past dozen years, who is celebrating his Testimonial Year, sponsored Ceri and the boys, and was delighted to accompany Owain and Ceri in the official handing over of the cheque to Lesley Morris of Epilepsy Wales. “It was wonderful to meet so many people who, through Owain, Ceri and Jayne, now have some knowledge and understanding of epilepsy,” said Lesley. “This condition, though as common to affect 1 in 131 of the general population, is still so mis-understood, and feared. The money is absolutely wonderful to receive, but knowing that so many more people, including Glamorgan cricket club, know a bit more about epilepsy, is the biggest reward. Owain is a wonderful young lad, with a wonderfully supportive family, and I think Mike Powell has met his biggest fan.”
The next “Owain’s Walk” will be taking place during September 2011 – and already several rugby and cricket players have expressed their willingness to join up. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Lesley Morris, at Epilepsy Wales – [email protected] – who will put you in touch with Ceri.