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Welling teenager’s battle with epilespy inspires boyfriend to cycle 100 miles

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 June 2014

Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

A young man will be undertaking a 100 mile cycling challenge to raise money for a charity that helps people with the same condition as his girlfriend.

Luke Haines, 18, has signed up for the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 in aid of The Epilepsy Society.

His girlfriend, Elise Shaw, of Welling, also 18, was diagnosed with the condition four years ago.

She suffers seizures at least once a month and needs to take five tablets a day in an effort to keep them under control.

Luke has witnessed Elise suffer an epileptic fit and on one occassion was the only person on hand to prevent her from injuring herself during a particularly violent seizure.

It was Elise’s bravery in dealing with the illness which spurred Luke on to complete the gruelling challenge.

Elise, a student and part time sales assistant at Superdrug in Broadway Shopping Centre, said: “I’m really proud of what Luke is doing because the Epilepsy Society does so much help to people like myself.

“The fits come right out of the blue and I get absolutely no warning that they are about to happen.

“My parents have had to call the ambulance a couple times when I’ve had really bad ones. The rule is that someone should call an ambulance if the fit lasts over five minutes, and that’s been twice in my case.

“For that reason it’s very important that people know what to do if they see someone like me go into a fit. Basically, it’s to make sure they don’t fall and to remove all objects – especially sharp ones - they might fall on to. Really vital is to make sure they can’t swallow their own tongue.

“When I first had epilepsy I’d get very upset but now I think I’ve learnt to live with it and try not to let it stop me living my life.”

Luke, who is a sixth form student at Bexleyheath Academy as well as working with Elise at Superdrug, said: “I secured my place in the event in March and I’m really looking forward to joining The Epilepsy Society’s Team Purple on the day.

“I want to do all I can to support the charity because it does so much to help people who have epilepsy, like my girlfriend Elise.

“Since I’ve known her I’ve seen her have two seizures. With the first one I wasn’t really sure what was going on and luckily there were other people who knew what to do to help her. That means things like making sure she didn’t swallow her tongue. The second one she had it was just me with her so I had to help sort her out.

“Seeing someone have a seizure like that can be very distressing, so I wanted to do something positive to help the charity.”

The event will take place on on August 10, beginning at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and finishing on The Mall by Buckingham Palace.

Elise plans to follow Luke around the course on the train and meet him at the finish line.

The determined teenager has been training hard by cycling around 10 miles every night and he hopes to raise £600 in sponsorship money from family, friends and his Superdrug colleagues.

To support Luke in the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LukeHaines.

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