Middlesbrough-based charity nominated for national epilepsy award

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A CHARITY started in memory of a young girl who died after suffering an epileptic seizure has been shortlisted for a national award.

The work of Abbie’s Love has been recognised by national charity Young Epilepsy and has been nominated as an Epilepsy Champion.

The charity was set up by Richard and Tracy Clarke in memory of their daughter Abbie, who died in 2006 from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).

The couple were nominated for the award by Val Barker, from Middlesbrough, who said: “I nominated Abbie’s Love because after losing their daughter to SUDEP, Richard and Tracy have done so much for epilepsy awareness.

“The founders have appeared on Secret Millionaire and Richard was also torch bearer for the London Paralympics and carried his torch in memory of Abbie. I think they deserve recognition for raising awareness of SUDEP.

"A gold award for two courageous people with matching hearts of gold.”

Since it was set up, the trust fund has raised £250,000, which is enough to pay for 78 seizure bed alarms for children in Teesside.

James Cook University Hospital has also donated an EEG machine to scan for epilepsy as well as ten video cameras for nurses at the hospital to use.

Richard Clarke, co-founder of the charity, said: “After hearing we were nominated, we are over the moon. For Abbie’s Love to be nominated means we are doing something good in our efforts to help children with epilepsy in the North-East.”

In 2010, the charity received a huge boost when multi-millionaire Sean Gallagher travelled to Middlesbrough to donate £75,000 as part of Channel 4's Secret Millionaire programme. He chose the charity because his only sibling died following an epileptic fit 25 years ago.

According to charity Young Epilepsy, epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in childhood and affects more than 112,000 people aged 25 and under in the UK and 11,341 in the North East alone.

Nominations for the award can be made at www.youngepilepsy.org.uk/champions-awards and must be received by Thursday, January 31.

The award Cceremony will be held on Tuesday, March 26 in City Hall, London.

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