THE father of a boy with a rare form of epilepsy has been given a national award for creating a website about the condition.
James Walker, eight, has Doose syndrome – a rare form of epilepsy which can cause learning disabilities and behavioural issues.
His parents Gary, 48, and Jennifer, 42, of Madison Close, Gosport, had never heard of the condition and set about trying to find out a much as they could.
Gary has now won a Guiding Light Award at the The Young Epilepsy Awards, after his wife nominated him for setting up the website.
Gary, who worked in retail for 30 years but now focuses on volunteer work, said: ‘I was shocked and surprised to have been nominated and then to get an award.
‘I never set up the site for any kind of praise, I just wanted to provide a one-stop shop of information and advice to other parents that were going through what we have.
‘When James was diagnosed I didn’t have a Scooby Doo about what the condition meant, or the kind disability help we could get, such as allowances.’
The website was set up three years ago and on average gets around 25,000 hits a year.
As well as running the website, Gary is also a parent governor at Heathfields School, a parent volunteer for Portsmouth City Council‘s transport appeal and a volunteer befriender for Kids Face 2 Face – a project providing emotional support for parents going through their child’s diagnosis of additional needs.
Jennifer said: ‘I nominated my husband for the support he provides not only for our son, but for other families nationwide.
‘Gary had no prior knowledge of epilepsy other than what he had seen on television, but now he spends all his spare time learning about the condition, medication, diets and safety in the home.
‘He wanted to share his knowledge, not just of epilepsy but other conditions, so he set up the website.
‘He gets no funding for it and doesn’t look for praise, so I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate Gary’s work and give praise where it is due.
‘I didn’t tell Gary I had nominated him for an award as I know he would discourage such an application.
‘He is so modest about his work he believed he had been sent the letter by mistake insisting he does nothing spectacular to warrant such attention.’
To visit the site, go to lovethewayiam.co.uk