I believe each of us craves some sort of purpose in our lives. Who are we going to be? What were we put on this earth for? Why did something happen to us?
...Why did epilepsy happen to me?
I obviously know the answer to the last question. My epilepsy was caused by a febrile convulsion, it caused a scar on the right side of my brain and the rest is medical history. But what I've always wanted, since my brain surgery, since my epilepsy re-emerged for reasons nobody can explain, is to understand if I have a purpose as someone with epilepsy. I wonder sometimes if I should walk away and leave the riding to someone else? But then if every person with epilepsy thought that, we'd never ever make progress to tackle the stigma. Better an army to fight it, than a lone soldier and I don't want to leave anyone else to become that lone soldier.
I received some incredible news last month, possibly a real chance for me to shine a light on my condition while raising funds for it at the same time. I have a venue, a velodrome on my doorstep in Glasgow, Scotland, where I will attempt the Women's 24HR Track Cycling World Record, next July 2017. A real ability to say: "If someone with epilepsy holds with Women's Track Cycling 24HR WR, then why the hell can't someone with epilepsy hold down a desk job too?" My aim is to push past a potential employer's limits so far, that they won't be able to dispute that people with epilepsy are able. Because we more than are.
But I hope I'm not a lone soldier either, which is why I've come to the conclusion that Epilepsy Forward, could, as a brand, as a charity, go far further than just me and a bike. A British Cycling Club perhaps? Why not branch out into other physical challenges? Why not attempt to start a movement?
The message the Epilepsy Forward project is trying to get across is more powerful the more people with the condition join the team. If we end up getting a movement of people smashing the epilepsy stigma, then it stops being a one off. Eventually I hope, it becomes an undeniable message:
"We are able."
So with a project that has potential, I hope that people will join me in taking on the responsibility to grow Epilepsy Forward, into new epic challenges that push people with the condition's limits, across all areas of life. Many incredible people had epilepsy. Many incredible people have epilepsy. They get on with winning awards, world titles, the hearts of fans, Prince was a fine example of that. So to anyone wondering if their epilepsy will ever stop them being amazing think on this. From my experience with every person I've met that has the condition, they already are.
And if you're keen to help get involved with Epilepsy Forward, or know someone who might be, especially if you're in the UK where the charity will be registered, please get in touch!