SUDEP Action

Making every epilepsy death count
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Our new CEO - Sammy Ashby


Sammy Ashby is the new CEO of SUDEP Action following Jane Hanna’s decision to step down from the role. Jane will remain actively involved in the charity’s work from the autumn in the new role of Director of Policy & Influencing. Read more here

Sammy is vastly experienced, having joined the charity in October 2014 as Policy & Development Officer, working alongside Jane to push for change with MPs, policymakers and health professionals. Over the years she has managed many research projects and liaised closely with volunteers. She became responsible for managing the EpSMon app and the SUDEP & Seizure Safety Checklist as the reach and recognition of both tools grew significantly from 2015. Sammy believes these tools - created by SUDEP Action and clinical partners- still have huge untapped potential and can help even more people, which is why she wants to expand on their value to help drive them to the next level. Similarly, she sees the Epilepsy Deaths Register as a rich source of information we can continue to learn from.

In 2017, Sammy became Deputy CEO of SUDEP Action, further strengthening her close working relationship with Jane, which has flourished over the past six years. She says she is lucky to have ‘learnt from the best’.

Sammy said: “Thank you to the Board for trusting me to lead SUDEP Action into the future. The mission of the charity has, and always will be, to do all we can to prevent epilepsy deaths. We want to make sure that all epilepsy deaths are acknowledged & learnt from and we also want to be there as a lifeline, a voice and an ally to anyone bereaved by epilepsy.

Like many of you, my family also lives without someone because of epilepsy. Together we are a community, brought together out of the worst tragedy, but our experiences are our power, especially when we stand alongside each other.”

The charity’s foundation of being the only place for specialist epilepsy bereavement services will remain at the heart of our work, which is why Sammy is pleased to share that Tracy Cowdry, our Bereavement Services Manager, will become the new Deputy CEO. She’ll still provide her valuable expertise to anyone bereaved who contacts the charity - but will help support Sammy and the charity into its exciting future. 

Sammy added: “Our fantastic SUDEP Action team punch well above their weight, have massive hearts & we are rightly seen by many as experts in what we do. It’s a privilege to be able to continue working alongside them.”

Sammy looks forward to meeting many supporters and volunteers at the National Conference this November, where exciting plans for 2024 and beyond will be shared.