Nathan Liptrot – why I fundraise for research

Posted Dec 5 2018 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Nathan has been an enthusiastic fundraiser for us, so we thought we would find out more about why he has chosen Epilepsy Research UK as his ‘charity of choice’.

Why is it that any organisation needs to raise funds? In many cases it is because there is a lack of government funding and even where funding is available, voluntary funding can supplement this.

But, in Nathan’s case, the reason is also much closer to home.  His wife Kerry has had epilepsy for 10 years now, so for him, an epilepsy charity was a very natural choice.

Last year, 2017, Nathan completed the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge, but in fact his fundraising efforts began in 2012 when his best friend’s mother passed away a group of friends decided to climb Mount Snowdon in Wales to raise money for a local hospice.  Although he had never done anything like this before, he enjoyed the challenge, so decided to continue.  Subsequent annual events have combined his love of walking in the mountains with an altruistic, fundraising element and have seen him conquer the UK’s highest mountains.

So last year Nathan decided to take this to the next level and helped to organise the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge, for 3 different charities.  We asked how the charities were chosen.  One was for a local cause, the second was for a charity with which Nathan’s family felt a connection because of the help that his Dad had received before his death and then there was an open vote.  Amongst the nominations for the open vote was Epilepsy Research UK which had been made by a good friend from Nathan’s gym who was taking part in the challenge.  His reason for nominating us was that his sister had had epilepsy, and tragically died from complications following a severe epileptic seizure.  The draw was made and Epilepsy Research UK was pulled out of the hat.

Having had such a success with last year’s 3 peaks challenge, Nathan looked for an even bigger and tougher event to embrace for 2018 so he and a friend from the gym, Simon Martin, decided to trek to Everest Base Camp.  This challenge was a gruelling 17-day trek in the Himalaya, which saw them reach altitudes of over 5,600 metres whilst having to contend with sub-zero temperatures, lack of oxygen and loss of appetite. Despite the difficulties faced, Nathan and Simon completed the challenge one day early, then took a well-earned short break in Kathmandu before returning home to their families. They took a decision early on to fund the trip themselves, which is no mean feat in itself, so that everything raised would go to their chosen charities. Read Nathan’s Account from the challenge here.

For Nathan, there was no choice, it had to be for epilepsy, but specifically an epilepsy research charity for as he says: “Any breakthrough that can unlock new avenues, new treatments, new ways of managing the condition, can help those who live with epilepsy.  Anything that can be done to help prevent, control or improve the lives of anyone affected, is a good thing to do.  We need to find new methods and advances through research.  The NHS does not have enough money to go around, so we need to raise extra funds.  There are many other equally deserving causes but ERUK touches a nerve”.

Epilepsy has had a deep impact on Nathan’s life and that of his family.  The biggest effect has been on family planning which has been put on hold for much longer than anticipated, until Kerry’s seizures were under control.  Kerry had been seizure free for 6 or 7 years and then 18 months ago she had three seizures in quick succession.  But just recently she has been given the “all clear” by their consultant, so fingers crossed for them both.

What is Nathan hoping for from research into epilepsy?  “I would like to see, at some point in the future, that we understand more about the condition, that we find better and more effective treatments so that people can live more easily with epilepsy”.

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