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Anne's 2015 friendly Longford Marathon

Anne's most poignant special and important half marathon

By Anne Oneil

I was lucky to travel back to Longford, my mum's hometown in Ireland on Friday 28th August to run in the 14th Longford Marathon. I had been involved in a serious car crash about two weeks prior to running the Marathon in aid of SUDEP Action in memory of my little sister Brigid Josephine Marie O'Neill. 

Brigid sadly passed away on 27th November, 2001, after suffering a fatal epileptic seizure and drowning in the bath at home. It was a great shock to us all especially myself because I found my little sister in the bath and she had not had a seizure for four and a half years before that fatal day.

It was a nice dry Sunday morning on 30th August when I competed in the friendly 13.1 mile half Marathon because it’s been thirteen years since Brigid sadly passed away. I knew it would be hard because I am still recovering from the injuries I sustained in the car crash, but I was determined to finish the race knowing that I was doing something special to celebrate my sister’s life.

At the start line, I thought of my sister Brigid, my best friend and how I lost her life through a tragedy that should not have happened if it hadn’t been for acts of bullying at her work place. She was a sweet, quiet, hardworking girl and a loving sister who dealt with her epilepsy in her own way by just getting on with her daily life and helping me with my charity work. 

I ran across the start line proudly wearing my SUDEP Action tee-shirt, with a picture of Brigid and myself, and a picture of myself proudly wearing my full marathon 2014 medal. My tee-shirt had a special message on the back saying ‘Sadly missed but always in my thoughts and in my heart. Love from her sister Anne xxx’. 

We had runners from many different countries. The gun went off and the spectators were cheering everyone on. The locals provided refreshments along the route. The other runners were encouraging me to keep going after reading the back of my tee-shirt. 

I ran towards the finishing line with a smile on my face and a sense of pride for this very special and poignant race on what I achieved in my sister's memory.

I felt very proud when I received the Half Marathon medal was put around my neck which made me feel very proud. I finished in a time of 3:07:48, which I was quite pleased about but also a bit disappointed but considering the injuries I suffered in the car crash, I was lucky to complete the Marathon.

I was very proud to have raised £2000 so far, to be split between SUDEP Action and another charity. 

See Anne's photo gallery below

 PDF icon Anne Oneil photo gallery

Helping families coping with what we went through as a family. I would love to think my sister and my mum was looking down on me and helping me on my weary way on a poignant day but a happy day having completed my most special and important half marathon.

Epilepsy is a devastating and misunderstood disease that can affect families in the most tragic way because it is heart-breaking experience to deal with a unexpected death of a loved one.

Anne's story was also featured in the SUDEP Action Newsletter