A MAN who suffers from epilepsy has helped launch a national campaign to educate people about the condition.
Stuart Vidler, 35, has been shunned by passers-by in Huddersfield while experiencing seizures.
The Marsden man is urging people to stop and help rather than walk on by.
He said: “I once had a seizure on a bus in Huddersfield and the driver pulled over and called an ambulance, but left me to it and stayed in his seat.
“When I came round I was jammed under a bus seat. I’d damaged my shoulder when I was trapped under the seat.
“On another occasion I had a seizure near the bus station in town. When I regained consciousness, people were making a distinct effort to avoid me.
“There were several people who crossed the road to avoid me and they were shooing their children away from me.
“That kind of thing makes you feel ashamed – you feel like you’ve caused a scene. You feel embarrassed and vulnerable.”
But Stuart added that passers-by sometimes help him when he has a seizure.
“Some people are very understanding and they make an effort to care for me.
“I once had a seizure on a bus in Huddersfield and the other passengers were great. They put me on the floor in the recovery position and padded my head.”
Stuart helped launch a national campaign by Epilepsy Action in Leeds to raise awareness of the condition which affects 38,000 people in Yorkshire.
He said: “This is something people might come across so it would be great if they knew how to help.”
Stuart was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering his first seizure aged 15.
“They are very random,” he said. “The seizures can come in patches of half a dozen a week or I can go a month without any. Or I can get three or four in a day – it really is that random. It can be quite scary at times.”
Stuart typically has a moment’s notice before he suffers a seizure.
He said: “I only get one or two seconds’ warning. If I’m holding a cup of tea, I might have time to put it down before the seizure starts.
“I have a feeling of sheer panic and then I lose consciousness.”
Stuart takes several minutes to recover after he comes round.
He said: “I’m usually disorientated and I’m not able to talk for 10 minutes after regaining consciousness.”
Stuart, who works as a customer services representative for Britannia Rescue at Folly Hall, has suffered seizures at work.
“My colleagues help me and make sure I’m safe. They’ve always been very good at that.’’
Stuart’s condition means he has to be careful about which activities he takes part in.
“There are some things I have to stay away from, like rock-climbing and scuba-diving.
“If I go for a walk in the moors I never go alone. When I go swimming, I always have a word with the lifeguard for my safety and the safety of everyone else using the pool.”
EPILEPSY ACTION has come up with the acronym “ACTION” to help people remember what to do if they see someone having a seizure:
ASSESS the situation – is the person having a seizure in danger of injuring themselves? Remove any nearby objects that could cause injury
CUSHION their head (with a jumper, for example) to protect them from head injury
TIME the seizure. If it lasts more than five minutes you should call an ambulance
IDENTIFY the person by looking for a medical bracelet or ID card – it may give information about the person’s seizures and what to do
OVER: Once the seizure is over put the person on their side in the recovery position. Stay with them and reassure them as they come round
NEVER restrain the person, put anything in their mouth or try to give them food or drink.
For more information visit www.epilepsy.org.uk