Skydiving for Epilepsy: Mother Takes Flight for Newborn Daughter’s Fight

A fearless mother of two, from Bolton, England, has taken a literal leap of faith to raise awareness for her fundraising drive honoring Young Epilepsy UK and the Royal Bolton Hospital’s E5 children’s ward.

Tania Worden, 24, decided to take the 15,000-ft. plunge on Sunday to support the national charity’s work; an act she has been doing ever since her newborn baby experienced her first epileptic attack. Her daughter Ruby was only eight months old when she began convulsing unexpectedly in front of her father, Martin Higson, 24.

Ruby was quickly rushed off to the Royal Bolton Hospital, where she was immediately diagnosed with epilepsy. She underwent 12 days of treatment, including the time she spent in the high dependency ward.

Subsequent to witnessing her daughter’s first epileptic fit, Worden stated that “the first one she had, her dad said her whole body was shaking, her eyes were rolling and she was foaming at the mouth. I thought she may be dead, she was so still. They had tubes all over her, for anything from ECG, oxygen, medication. It was horrible,” she said.

That night at the hospital, Ruby had been asleep for a mere six hours before the seizures began to start again. Worden recalled screaming for somebody to help her. “In the 12 days she was at hospital she had 200 to 300 seizures, some lasting just 10 seconds, some 45 minutes,” said Worden. “They tested her for meningitis but the epilepsy diagnosis came pretty quickly. They sat us down but after saying what it was, the rest went over my head. I didn’t know if she could have a normal life, go to a normal school. I knew very little about epilepsy, all I felt was shock.”

After Ruby was discharged, the family’s burden did not lessen any. Her fits continued, as did her visits to the hospital; the weight of worry for Ruby’s future growing heavier as a result. Although her older sister Scarlett is only three years old, she is aware of what is going on and is concerned about her sister’s wellbeing. Upon learning of Ruby’s diagnosis, Worden took to the internet for guidance, through which she discovered Young Epilepsy UK.

Along with developing treatment based on research, the charity offers support, diagnosis, assessment and rehabilitation, and is solely responsible for 112,000 children and young adults aged 25 and under, who suffer from epilepsy and related conditions.

The charity’s noble cause inspired Worden and her friends to help raise funds. When Worden originally signed up for the skydive in Lancashire, the goal was to raise £500. However, a campaign tagged #doitforruby was created, and since then the team has actively participated in sponsored silences, runs, and car boot sales, raising well over £3,000. The money raised will be divided between the charity and the Royal’s E5 ward, where Ruby received the majority of her treatment.

Worden decided to create a Facebook page detailing Ruby’s story to educate others on the reality of what epilepsy is, as well as the many effects it can have. She expressed that, “as hard as it is for us to tell the story, we can’t forget about it and we don’t know when it is going to stop but people need to know about how it affects people’s lives.”

 

This piece is based on an article written by Rosalind Saul and published by The Bolton News, which can be seen here.

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Megan Baksh received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at Nova Southeastern University in May of 2016, and is currently pursuing an education in the field of psychology.

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