A MOTHER who cares for three epileptic sons and finds time to actively raise funds to support those with the neurological condition is in line for a national award.
Lee-Anne Mann is among the nominees for the Young Epilepsy Champion Awards, organised by national charity Young Epilepsy.
The awards recognise the outstanding contribution made by people towards raising awareness and understanding of epilepsy and improving the lives of young people who suffer from it.
Mrs Mann, of Tenby Road, Redcar, east Cleveland, has three sons, 12-year-old Jake, Charlee, seven, Kyan, six, who have been diagnosed with epilepsy.
The youngsters’ epilepsy is controlled by medication, but nonetheless Charlee, who is the worst affected, can have up to 18 seizures a night.
Mrs Mann’s daughter, three-year-old Lucy-Mae, is also suspected of having epilepsy and recently spent five days in hospital where she has undergone tests.
The 40-year-old said she was “gobsmacked” to be nominated by husband Phil.
Mrs Mann crafts items to sell online to raise money for another epilepsy charity Epilepsy Sucks UK, which supplies specially designed pillows to prevent epilepsy sufferers suffocating themselves if they have a seizure while in bed.
She has so far raised about a thousand pounds and plans to have her head shaved to raise further funds.
Mrs Mann said: “We get on with things and make the most of the situation.
“But there are times when I feel it would easier to be an octopus and have arms all over the place.
“It’s hard work and the worst of it is that the children cannot carry on like their friends. They can’t just go out and play when they like, they have to be supervised at all times to ensure their safety.”
Phil Mann said his wife was “phenomenal”. He said: “She’s a shining light for a lot of people.”
Another nominee from the region, mother-of-three Kristy Langdale, has set up a support group to help families living with epilepsy.
Her eight-year-old daughter Ella has Lennox Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy which is often accompanied by mental regression.
Mrs Langdale, 28, whose husband Ross is a corporal based at RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire, hopes to publish a book she co-wrote with Ella helping children to deal with epilepsy.
She said: “There is still such a big stigma attached to epilepsy and people who don’t understand the condition get scared of how to deal with it.”
On her nomination, she said: “I was completely shocked, I don’t feel like I do anything that any other parent wouldn’t do.
“My middle daughter Evie helps, she is amazing and my little rock. She will watch Ella and shouts if there is anything wrong.”
Also nominated is eight year old Erika Porter, from Darlington, who last year clinched a second place in an international street dance competition, despite having a blackout an hour before her performance.
The Harrowgate Hill Primary School pupil was diagnosed with epilepsy in October and also suffers from type one diabetes.
Her mother Paula said: “She is over the moon and so excited. At the moment we are in and out of the hospital with her, but she’s bearing up.
“She loves to dance – it’s her life.”
It is estimated that there are 112,000 people aged 25 and under in the UK who have been diagnosed with epilepsy.
Nominations for a Young Epilepsy Champion Award are still open, with the deadline midnight on January 26. Visit youngepilepsy.org.uk/champions-awards for further details. The awards ceremony takes place in London on March 26.