A girl of nine who has lived with epileptic seizures since she was a baby is raising money to help people worse off than herself.
Lara Quinn suffers three types of seizures, including the most severe grand mal – where she becomes unconscious and unknowingly thrashes her arms and legs around.
There’s no warning. Her seizures can happen at any time.
Epilepsy doesn’t stop courageous Lara from indulging in pastimes like rock climbing or putting others first.
On Saturday, March 26 – national epilepsy awareness day – Lara and her family are holding a “purple coffee morning” at their home to raise cash for Epilepsy Action, a charity that’s helped Lara and her family cope with the condition.
Living with epilepsy is an uphill struggle by itself, but it seems even in the 21st century the condition is widely misunderstood.
The stress alone was causing her to have seizures. We have moved her schools in the hope that the stress will stop and the bullying will stop.Nicky Crowley
One grand mal just before Christmas during a trip to see The Minions movie in Peterborough happened in front of Lara’s whole school.
“The children didn’t understand it and they began picking on her,” said Lara’s mum Nicky Crowley. “She’s been really quite badly bullied since then.”
There was good news for Lara on Thursday as she switched back to her old school, William Stukeley at Holbeach, where most of the children in her class have known her since she was aged two or three years.
Nicky said: “The stress alone was causing her to have seizures. We have moved her schools in the hope that the stress will stop and the bullying will stop.”
Nicky says there are “hundreds and hundreds” of different types of seizures.
“Lara struggles every day,” said Nicky. “She’s had epilepsy ever since she was 12-weeks-old so she has grown up with it. It’s not like it’s suddenly happened to her. She has lots of doctors and lots of medication.”
The youngster will have to undergo procedures at Sheffield Children’s Hospital as doctors continue probing the causes of her epilepsy and these will include an MRI scan, lumbar puncture, blood and urine tests and a spell in a sleep clinic with electrodes stuck to her head.
“I have always taught her that there is always some else worse off than yourself,” said Nicky.
Lara’s kind heart shines through when she comes round from a seizure.
Her first question is: “Mum are you all right?”
Then she turns her attention to brother Richard (7) and baby Alice (1). She wants to know if they are okay too.
Nicky says Lara worries in case she has inadvertently “caught” one of her family as her arms and legs flail around.
Most of the time Lara can do everything any other nine-year-old can do, and enjoys rock climbing at Big Sky Adventure Play in Peterborough even though a seizure could spark a fall.
Nicky told us: “She says things like ‘if I hit my head, I hit my head, I will have to go to hospital’.”
• The purple coffee morning runs from 11am at 1 Marsh Road, Holbeach Hurn. Everything will be purple, from hair to cakes. Anyone can support Lara’s fundraising on www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LaraPurpleCoffeeMorning