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Why brave Lowestoft teenager Danni aims to help others like her

PUBLISHED: 13:13 20 July 2012 | UPDATED: 13:41 20 July 2012

Benjamin Britten high school student, Danielle Warner,14 suffers from Epilepsy. She is organising a fun run to raise money and awareness of epilepsy.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Benjamin Britten high school student, Danielle Warner,14 suffers from Epilepsy. She is organising a fun run to raise money and awareness of epilepsy. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

TO anyone watching her running around a football pitch, teenager Danni Warner looks a picture of health.

But 14 months ago her world was turned upside down.

In May last year the sports-loving 14-year-old began suffering severe fits “out of the blue” that left her feeling light-headed and at risk of fainting – and desperate to find out what was wrong.

Several weeks later, after a series of medical appointments and tests, Danni was diagnosed with epilepsy. And since then she has had to endure what she describes as an “emotionally and physically draining” year.

But rather than focusing entirely on her own fitness battle, the kind-hearted Benjamin Britten High School pupil is leading a campaign to support the national charity that helps others with the same condition.

To boost her efforts, she has organised a sponsored fun-run – Danni’s Run – in Normanston Park, Lowestoft, to raise funds for, and awareness about, the work of Epilepsy Action.

Danni, of Spashett Road, Lowestoft, told The Journal: “Last May I began to suffer what are known as tonic-clonic seizures out of the blue and it wasn’t until July that I was diagnosed with epilepsy.

“It is still not confirmed how I got it, but I was obviously forced to live with it. I understood it was going to be difficult as I was told I was likely to have it for the rest of my life. However, it’s been harder than I thought.”

Although her medication has been changed in an effort to keep her seizures to a minimum, Danni said that learning about epilepsy and the way it affected people had made her keen to help others in the same position.

“Initially I never understood the things I’m unable to do until my illness is under control, such as driving, going to parties and so forth,” she said. “The 12 months have been extremely emotionally and physically draining for me and my family but I’ve only had this illness for a year so I feel selfish moaning about my situation. Many people are born and die with it and for some it may never be controlled, causing huge difficulties in their lives.”

According to Epilepsy Action, there are about 600,000 people with the condition in the UK and Danni and her family are among those who have received help and support from the charity.

When Danni was diagnosed with epilepsy last year, she had to stop playing sport for a couple of months and she also fell behind with her school work. But she has now resumed playing football, caught up with her course-work and recently completed a three-day refereeing course in Norwich that means she is a qualified official.

Now, she is hoping as many people as possible will take part in her run on Monday, August 27.

Danni said: “It has been really hard but I want to do something for others and the money raised will go to Epilepsy Action to help with research and raising awareness – I didn’t know anything about the condition before I got it.”

Her mum, Sylvia Warner, added: “Whether you run, walk, jog or skip as many laps as you can, you will be raising money for the 600,000 people living with epilepsy in the UK – all money raised will be in aid of Epilepsy Action,” .

●Danni’s Run will be held at 11am on August 27 in Normanston Park and everyone is welcome to take part. Sponsor forms are available from The Journal office or by calling 01502 589225,. You can also donate on the day.

●For more information on dealing with epilepsy, visit www.epilepsy.org.uk

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