The People’s Forum is a group of volunteers who work with the Board of Epilepsy Connections to maintain and develop services. The main roles of the People’s Forum are to:
- Feedback to the Board relevant ideas and suggestions that will help to:
- maintain and develop existing services
- maintain and develop communication between Epilepsy Connections and its existing and potential service users
- fill perceived gaps in services
- Respond to requests from the Board and the Executive Director to:
- contribute short-life working groups
- carry out small-scale tasks or research relevant to maintaining and developing services.
My name is Mary Antczak, I live in Falkirk. I have 2 daughters and four granddaughters who keep me very busy. I was delighted to be asked to join the Forum to represent Forth Valley Area.
Epilepsy Connections have given me a lot of support and allowed me to make lots of new friends and I look forward to future meetings.
I have recently become interested in politics which came as quite a surprise. I take an active part in our local community and enjoy attending our local church.
My name is James Berrington and I am 62 years old. I took early retirement from work and within 2 years I had been diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 60. I have tonic clonic epilepsy. Finding out this diagnosis came as quite a shock to me. I had had 3 mini strokes but had no real reason of this at all.
One day I woke up and realized I had bit my lip and tongue during the night and made it bleed I went to the doctor. The biting of the tongue and lip is an indication of a small seizure. Within a few weeks I fell out of bed having a full seizure with jerking of my limbs and not knowing where I was. An ambulance was called and I ended up in hospital where I was diagnosed as having epilepsy. I thought epilepsy was there when you were born; not something you were diagnosed with later in life. This has been an eye opener. It is not rare for people to be diagnosed with epilepsy in later life.
I wanted to be part of the people’s forum to gain knowledge from others and to impart the little knowledge I have. As a group we can share and let others know that with medication we can lead a normal life.
Hi my name is Sharon Cairney, I am 46 and live in Glasgow’s West End and have a 22 year old son studying Law at Glasgow University. I was diagnosed with epilepsy (tonic-clonic seizures) in 2014 which was for me personally a horrendous upheaval to my life as I had always worked, suddenly I was not fit to work and this impacted on my general mental health.
At present I am enrolled on the Epilepsy Connections Epilepsy Futures project and through attending weekly classes I have gained the confidence and support to enable me to come out of the house and socialise and consider various options and opportunities.
I have joined the Peoples Forum to raise awareness and to help others who think they are alone out there. Epilepsy Connections is here to help and they are a great warm loving friendly bunch of people, also I want to gain as much knowledge as possible in order to support others in similar circumstances to myself.
My name is Shoaib Chaudhry and I am 23 years old. I live in Shawlands and have had epilepsy since I was 9 years old and was only made aware of Epilepsy Connections at the age of 21. I want to help people like me who were not aware made of the resources available to them.I have also participated in the Futures Project which has helped me be more confident and made me want to step out of my comfort zone. I have also made use of services such as Friends Connected, Befriending and the Counselling Service at Epilepsy Connections.
My name is Steven and I am honoured and proud to introduce myself as the newest member of the Peoples Forum I’m grateful for this opportunitywhich will allow me to contribute to Epilepsy Connections service development and I’m particularly interested in helping and developing new support services in Ayrshire.
I am currently enrolled on Epilepsy Connections Futures project and have made so many new friends, we are a lively bunch, I look forward to our chats and banter. The project has given me a lot more confidence and I am more aware of services that are available to me. I feel so much more positive since enrolling onto the Futures Project, I have suffered from tonic clonic and absence seizures for thirty years, unfortunately the disease became worse at the age of eleven, I have suffered extreme injuries as a result of the seizures and now have the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge with everyone and hopefully improve the lives of people with epilepsy as a result.
I decided to do this because there have been many mistakes made in my life because not many people have complex partial epilepsy like me and I’ve had to work out each problem as it came along. I was diagnosed with epilepsy at two but the complex partial fits were not recognised till I was in my teens. It goes in a 7 – 8 year cycle which means that every 8 years I lose 2 years with months of depression. Others say I’m like two different people and some think I’m putting it on. I wish you were allowed a little understanding as it changes you physically and mentally.
I was diagnosed with epilepsy 6 years ago at the age of 34. It was something I found very difficult to come to terms with and there are still days that I struggle. I’m delighted and also very proud to have been invited to the People’s Forum, as a representative of West Dunbartonshire Epilepsy Support Group. They have been very supportive, along with Epilepsy Connections, throughout my journey. I look forward to giving something back, as I feel it’s important for support to be provided for all in need.
My name is Alan Johnston, I’m the father of three children and have two lovely grandchildren. I currently volunteer with Epilepsy Connections to support the range of service delivery options available within Ayrshire & Arran. I’ve had epilepsy since I was fifteen and “I don’t suffer from epilepsy it suffers me.”
My name is Lorraine Kennedy. I have had epilepsy almost all my life taking different types of seizures small ones, big ones which I got after I developed meningitis in childhood when I was 5 or 6 years old, this left me with a learning disability. I am now nearly 51. I joined the forum because I want to make a difference to people like myself. I am also a member of Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA), I enjoy the work they do helping change society’s attitude towards disability.
I joined People’s Forum with the aim of ensuring that the needs and rights of young people like my son are met and also that they are able to achieve their full potential.
One of the reasons I joined was to contribute something to Epilepsy Connections who have provided great support to our family over many years.
My name is Carol McNeil and I am 58 years old. I live in Grangemouth and have two daughters and three grandchildren. I have had epilepsy for 44 years and been in numerous situations due to the seizures. I was diagnosed when I was 14. I have tonic clonic seizures but three years ago I had a couple of drop seizures. With the support of family and friends I have managed to lead a relatively normal life.
I worked as a legal secretary then as a paralegal in a Solicitors office for 17 years. I am not working at present. I love to keep active and go to the gym when I can. I enjoy the internet and socialising with friends. I am delighted to be part of the People’s Forum as I feel that together we can help to improve the lives of people with Epilepsy.
I am Ruth’s Dad. Ruth has a genetic condition that affects all her development; she has a profound learning disability and is non-verbal. She then started having seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 8 years old in 2011. Despite these difficulties in her life, Ruth is a lively young person who lives for the moment. She loved being with the Epilepsy Connections outdoor activity weekend in Ardentinny. I loved being there too and I enjoy working with others, to bring us closer together for shared understanding and positive change. Due to Ruth’s situation I have a particular interest in the impact of epilepsy on children and young people with learning disabilities and their families.