Determined not to allow her epileptic seizures to quash her dream, one Sheffield woman is training for the London Marathon to raise money for the charity who have given her nine years of support.
Diagnosed with generalised epilepsy aged 21, Lucy Osborne, now 30, has been striving to compete in the race for years and has finally claimed a spot running for Epilepsy Action in October 2021.
“You’re at the prime of your life at 21 and it felt like a restrictor. It’s hard because when you’re at that age, the loss of control that you have when you’re having a fit, it’s not the most dignifying thing to experience,” said Miss Osborne, who lives in Handsworth.
She added: “Epilepsy does take a toll on your life. I have absent seizures that happen quite frequently throughout the week so they can be two to three minutes and I have a dazed look. I can just be staring at a computer screen and no one would ever know.
“With my full fits, I don’t have a memory two hours before and two hours afterwards, so any discussions or conversations I seem to forget and I sleep for the rest of the day.
“Epilepsy Action really helped me understand the condition and made me see how it doesn’t define you as a person, you can go out there and do what you need to but you just have some restrictions.”
Now in her sixth week of training, Miss Osborne has created a 29-week exercise schedule involving three runs and gym strengthening sessions over seven days.
Miss Osbourne’s mum, Tracy Benson, 58, a procurement purchase specialist with the NHS said: “I don’t think epilepsy has the awareness that it deserves. I think it’s one of those that’s maybe left on the back burner a little bit so it’s great that she’s increasing the awareness of this charity.
“Lucy is very focused and very determined that she’s going to do it. I’m absolutely thrilled to bits that she’s running it.”
Cautious of running alone in case of experiencing a seizure, Miss Osborne wears a watch with GPS and a tracking application enabling her mum to see where she is via email.
The future marathon-runner revealed she was on edge about the event but did not wish to be distracted by worry, stating her medical bracelet would alert others to her condition if a fit were to occur.
A spokesperson from Epilepsy Action said: “There are over 600,000 people living with epilepsy in the UK. But even in the 21st century, assumptions, fears and lack of knowledge persist.
“We are delighted that Lucy has chosen to run the London Marathon for Epilepsy Action and to fundraise in our name. We are so pleased to have helped her during her epilepsy journey, and we are rooting for her every step of the way. Every penny raised will go towards improving the lives of people with epilepsy in the UK.”
Click here to find out more about Miss Osborne’s story and fundraiser page.