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London Marathon 2024: Kieran’s story

Kieran

Kieran is taking on the 2024 London Marathon as part of #TeamScience for the Epilepsy Research Institute. Tragically, Kieran lost his sister Rebecca to epilepsy and in this piece, he talks about the impact of this loss on his family and why he decided to raise funds for research in Rebecca’s memory.

How has your family been impacted by epilepsy?

My sister Rebecca developed severe epilepsy after coming out of a coma. To this day there is a lot of mystery around her diagnosis, and we have a lot of unanswered questions surrounding what led to her being in a coma.

Had Rebecca been born with epilepsy, I think it would have been easier to cope with as a family, especially for my mum and dad. Rebecca changed from a sister with no health complications to suddenly having severe epilepsy. In short, it was like my parents lost a daughter twice over; firstly, when she came out of her coma a very different person with significant care needs; and again, when she died a few years later. It impacted our lives deeply and completely changed us all as a family.

Why is supporting research into epilepsy important to you?

Supporting research is important to me because epilepsy directly impacted me and my family on such a huge level. I'd like to try and help future families who might experience some of the same struggles. Any funds I raise may only be a drop in the ocean, but if I can make even a small difference by contributing to fund preventative research, I want to do what I can.

Why have you chosen the London Marathon to get involved? What is the attraction of the event to you?

I signed up for the London Marathon because it will be quite an experience! I won't bid for another marathon place again so why not do the biggest and most famous marathon in the UK? I cannot wait to experience it and being in the UK, it's more personal too.

What would you like research to achieve for more people with epilepsy in the future?

I am keen to see more research into early detection for families who may have a child with neurological vulnerabilities, and also early warning indicators of a seizure coming on. My sister had an operation where an implant was inserted into her brain, so when swiping a kind of magnetic bracelet over her chest it would send a signal into the brain to cut off the seizure – a treatment known as a VNS (vagus nerve stimulation) Therapy Magnet. It would be great if more research could go into these areas of technology too.

Thank you so much to Keiran for sharing his family’s story. You can support his London Marathon efforts on his fundraising page.