There are currently an estimated 112,000 young people in the UK, under the age of 25, living with epilepsy. With at least 40 different seizure types, epilepsy can affect different people in different ways, meaning the associated challenges can be many and diverse.
Thankfully, Young Epilepsy exists to ensure these children and young people are given a voice, and given the best possible future – and your recent donations have been supporting their work.
From mid-September 2017 to early January this year, hundreds of thousands of micro-donations were made via Pennies in Rontec roadside retail sites across the country, in support of Young Epilepsy. By the end of the partnership, these donations (each one just 25p) totalled over £100,000 – that’s a remarkable 10 million pennies. These funds are now helping the charity make a lifetime of difference for young people like Greg Aldridge.
Greg was just four years old when he had his first seizure. Although officially diagnosed with epilepsy and prescribed medication at age five, Greg struggled to cope with the confines at the mainstream primary school he attended, showing aggressive or inappropriate behaviour which saw him isolated from his peers. Following his final year at primary school, Greg had no school placement and was assessed as unsuitable for home schooling too.
In 2004 following a long funding battle Greg secured a place at Young Epilepsy’s St Piers School. Suddenly, he had a whole team around him who understood his needs, and immediately he seemed to relax. At this stage, Greg was also diagnosed with Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – but was in a place where teaching could be tailored specially to his needs, where he had friends, and where he was finally able to participate in the sports he loved.
Changes to his schooling were also followed by changes to his diet and medication, thanks to further support from Young Epilepsy medical staff. These changes not only help Greg become calmer, but they helped his whole family regain control. 10 years on from his first seizure, Greg had his last tonic clonic seizure, and was able to begin learning and retaining knowledge again.
Over the following years at St Piers School and College, Greg thrived thanks to the support of dedicated teachers. He was given the opportunity join the Chelsea FC Pan-Disability team, playing in Barcelona and Vienna, and has represented Young Epilepsy at Clarence House and 10 Downing Street.
Now 21-years-old, Greg is working 4 days a week, and setting his sights on a career in the sports industry. With stories like Greg’s, it’s clear that Young Epilepsy’s impact is significant, holistic, and lasting – and it’s thanks to micro-donations like yours that the charity can deliver its mission.
What your pennies mean
It took less than four months for Rontec customers to raise this remarkable £100,000 for Young Epilepsy. More than 400,000 Pennies donations were made it total – that’s thousands of donations every day.
For Young Epilepsy a day of donations could fund the equivalent of 40 hours of intensive one-to-one counselling to help young people make choices in education, work and well-being. It’s also enough to pay for 7 days of campaigning to ensure children with epilepsy are supported at school, helping set them up for a brighter future… just like Greg’s.