A special trust fund in memory of Coulby Newham youngster Abbie Clarke has received a £20,000 bost to help young people with epilepsy.
Richard and Tracy Clarke tragically lost their daughter to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy on 1 December 2006. Abbie was just 10 years old when she died in her sleep. She had been diagnosed with epilepsy five years earlier but her death came as a huge shock to everyone.
Determined to keep Abbie’s memory alive the couple set up a charity called Abbie’s Love to raise money to improve epilepsy care for young people in the area and help fund vital research into the condition.
They teamed up with The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough to launch the Abbie Clarke epilepsy trust fund and so far a staggering total of £225,000 has been raised thanks to the endless fundraising efforts from Abbie’s family, friends and class mates.
Abbie’s trust fund is already making a real difference to young people with epilepsy. It has helped set up a comprehensive children’s epilepsy database – thought to be one of the first of its type in the country – and a support group for families run by epilepsy specialist nurses. It has also enabled staff to take part in a regional research project on sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and it has provided a number of bed alarms and baby alarms.
Thanks to the latest donation the neurophysiology department at the hospital has updated all its EEG (electroencephalogram) machines. This important medical equipment is designed to monitor brain activity and aid in the diagnosis and characterisation of different types of epilepsy. Six reader stations have also been fitted to the latest specification of software available, allowing faster clinical reporting and swifter and easier access to the patient’s clinical report.
Richard said: “Tracy and I are delighted the updated EEG machines can lead to a quicker diagnosis for children with epilepsy. We will continue to work closely with James Cook to help young people with epilepsy and ensure Abbie’s legacy lives on.
”We would like to thank Sean Gallagher for his generosity in providing the money for the machines as part of the secret millionaire programme. A special plaque now has pride of place in the neurosciences department in memory of Sean’s sister, Denise Humphrey, next to Abbie’s.”
“Consultant paediatrician Dr Ramesh Kumar, who has a special interest in epilepsy, said: “The fundraising efforts of Richard and Tracy and the generosity of their friends and family have absolutely overwhelmed us over the past six years.
“Deaths from epilepsy are extremely rare but Abbie’s trust fund is certainly helping us to make a difference to children with epilepsy.”