Mother's call for epilepsy awareness

MORE AWARENESS: Luke Dean wants more people to be involved in World Epilepsy Day.
MORE AWARENESS: Luke Dean wants more people to be involved in World Epilepsy Day. Michael Doyle

ONE'S strength and resolve required to live with such a debilitating disease like epilepsy is something to be admired.

Luke Dean is one such boy who has had to suffer through the everyday struggles of this disease, specifically focal seizures.

Luke is a 12-year-old Dalby local who started having noticeable seizures at the age of two, with an epilepsy diagnosis 12 months later.

According to his mother Josie, Luke has had more than 20,000 seizures in 10 years.

Luke's struggle has inspired his parents, Josie and Jeff, to help other parents with children diagnosed with epilepsy, to learn more about the disease.

"When Luke was diagnosed we knew nothing about epilepsy, there wasn't really much support," Mrs Dean said.

"Then one day I found a mother who started Epilepsy Parents Australia on Facebook, so I joined as an admin and from day one we have built a supportive group for Australian families over the past six years.

"I also attend Understanding Epilepsy workshops and Midazolam training locally courtesy of Epilepsy Queensland to refresh my knowledge."

Greater education and understanding of the disease and how to manage it is something Mrs Dean hopes parents can receive more of in the future.

"Educate yourself, we wish that people would read more about the different types of seizures and understand that there is more than 50 types," she said.

"Ask questions, Google information and get involved to support your friends.

"We would also love for people to understand it's not a scary thing and that most people who suffer from epilepsy can hold jobs as long as they have the support from their employers and workmates."

Luke will be leaving for Melbourne in a week's time to undergo his second brain surgery, more than three years on from his first surgery in January, 2015.

"We had a great five months of seizure-free time after his first surgery, however we knew that there was a chance it could come back," Mrs Dean said.

"Then in June of 2015 they seem to had come back."

Despite the tough times the Dean family has experienced, Mrs Dean remains positive about the future.

"You stay positive because if you don't it will destroy you inside," she said.

"Our Melbourne and Brisbane neurology teams are pretty determined that this will be Luke's last surgery that will fix his seizures."

Mrs Dean is calling on residents to go purple to raise money for Epilepsy Queensland and in support of the world-wide initiative, Purple Day (Epilepsy Day) on March 26.

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