‘Epilepsy almost killed me’
Their mother, Angela, had been catching up on sleep following a night shift as a care assistant. But as soon as Diane raised the alarm, Angela shook the youngster and called an ambulance.
Anton ended up at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where he spent three days in intensive care, and five on a ward. “The doctors said if my mum hadn’t found me and did what she did, I would have died,” he said.
“People don’t realise that epilepsy can kill. They think you have a seizure and everything afterwards is tickety boo, but of course it’s not. It took me a long time to recover from that seizure, and it frightened the life out of my mum.”
It is the memory of that event that prompted Anton to take part in the Cardiff Half Marathon, raising £440 for Epilepsy Bereaved.
The 34-year-old, who had not been running for 20 years, finished the 13.1 mile long course in two hours, six minutes.
“For me personally there has never been a more worthwhile cause,” said Anton, who lives in Pontypridd, South Wales. “I owe my life to my sister and mum. If EB can stop anyone having to go through the trauma my family went through, then the blisters are worth it. I’m very proud to support EB.”
Anton had been enjoying the last day of the six-week summer holidays from school when he had his first ever seizure on September 6, 1992.
“I hadn’t been feeling very well the week before, but I think my mum thought I was trying to blag more time off,” he said.
“I remember she’d made my friend and I fried egg on toast for lunch, and then told us off for climbing on to the kitchen roof and messing around. I was watching the Grand Prix on television when my sister returned from a day out with friends and found me and got my mum.
“I felt really disorientated when I came round. Spaces seemed very different and food tasted bland for about a month. From then on I had seizures every few weeks and I spent so much time in hospital, I almost had to redo the third year at school.
“The seizures affected everything. Mum molly coddled me because she was frightened of what might happen. And every time I had a seizure, the whole school either saw it or heard about it. In the end, I found that humour was the best way of dealing with it, so before my mates would joke about it, I’d get in there first.”
Anton’s mum Angela Ornsby, 56, from Accrington, Lancs, said: “I can remember that first seizure like it was yesterday – I really thought he might die. It was a real shock and I felt very alone because I didn’t know what was going on. At first they thought it was a virus, but then Anton was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“On another occasion he’d only been home for half an hour, after three days in hospital, when it happened again and he had to go back.”
Initially, Anton, an accounts clerk for a car finance company, was given Epilim to control his seizures, and then Carbamazepine. He has been seizure free since 2001.
“Unfortunately, not many people take epilepsy seriously, which is why I support EB. It’s only a small charity, but it goes out of its way to fund research, raise awareness and warn people of the risks,” he said.
“When I decided to run the half marathon for EB, I had a lot of support from my wife, Kat, both our families and work colleagues. It’s a cause close to my heart, and one I plan to continue supporting in the years to come.”