Wanstead parents of sudden death teen raising epilepsy awareness

A YEAR after the sudden death of their cherished teenage daughter, Bruce and Linda Davis are still coming to terms with their tragedy.

Wanstead High schoolgirl Ellie, 18, was found dead on the floor of her university room after suffering a fatal epileptic fit, something Bruce told the Recorder the family knew could happen, but nothing could have prepared them for.

“She was in a relatively low risk category but was going through a vulnerable stage in her life,” said Bruce.

Ellie was in her first year of university at Bournemouth and was dealing with moving away from home and the stresses of life as a fresher undergraduate. Her death was due to SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, something which charity Epilepsy Bereaved is keen to raise awareness of.

Bruce, of Wanstead, was speaking on Monday as his older daughter Jenny completed a trek on the Inca Trail Macchu Picchu in Peru, with friends, Lucy Driscoll, Beth Murr and Claudia Holwey, to mark the anniversary of her sister’s death and raise funds for the charity.

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Jenny said: “Ellie never let epilepsy define her personality, which is why her sudden death came as such a shock to all who knew her.

“She lived her life to the full and for that I will be proud of my sister forever.”

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The charity revealed there are more than 600 deaths in the UK from SUDEP and those usually occur in young fit healthy adults.

Linda said it wouldn’t cost a lot of money to improve awareness of the condition.

“Not everybody is at risk of dying,” she said. “Only certain people with certain types of epilepsy, such as those who have nocturnal or tonic clonic seizures.” More epilepy nurses were needed, she added.

Charity director Jane Hanna said: “The risks of SUDEP are still not fully acknowledged, and this means that people with epilepsy are still at risk of dying suddenly, prematurely and unnecessarily.”

The charity has organised a meeting for MPs, including Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer, on February 16, during which Bruce and Linda will speak of their loss.

Bruce added: “It’s been a very difficult year, but both Linda and I have found ways of getting through. We have a bench at Manor Park Cemetery where we go and we just have to get on with it for the sake of our other daughter.”

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