A MUM from Siddington is speaking out about the traumas of epilepsy as her son becomes the face of an international awareness day about the condition.

Jimi Hyde was just a baby when he was struck with his first seizure.

As mother Helen put him to bed he started to act in an unusual way, jerking and rolling his eyes away.

At first she thought he was just “dreaming about chocolate” because he was smacking his lips but she soon realised something was wrong.

“I think like many people, we had a misconception at first. We thought you would give a child medication and after a few weeks or months they’d be fine and you can kind of resume normal life,” she said.

“But as a family we really did struggle. It took us quite a bit of time to accept what was happening. For me personally – as a mum – it took about seven or eight months before I really accepted what was going on. Even now, it can still be very difficult.

"Every time Jimi has a seizure, it breaks my heart. Because, as a mum, you want your child to be happy. To be healthy. To fit in at school.”

Life changed after that first seizure three-and-a-half years ago. Jimi, now six, suddenly found it difficult to do tasks that were once easy and had his development as a child stunted.

It was only recently that he was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called Landau Kleffner Syndrome, something his specialist described as an “electrical storm” inside his head that affects his cognitive development and behaviour.

Mum Helen said: “It was very frustrating – for Jimi and everyone around him. Now, with the help of treatment, he’s slowly regaining skills. He can get himself dressed and do buttons and zips. It makes me so proud to see him rebuild his confidence.

“When you start to realise that epilepsy might be something that has a long–term impact, you need support. From the doctors and nurses, from school, from family and friends. And also from organisations like Epilepsy Action.”

The charity is at the forefront of Purple Day, an international campaign on March 26 each year started by then nine-year-old Cassidy Megan, a Canadian girl living with epilepsy.

Little Jimi is this year leading the campaign as epilepsy sufferers seek to dispel myths about the condition.

It comes on the back of an Epilepsy Action survey which found one in five sufferers feel uncomfortable talking about their condition with friends, while one in seven struggle to talk about it with their own family.

Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action, said: “It’s frustrating to hear that many people with epilepsy feel embarrassed talking about it, and worry that they will be discriminated against if they do.

"Epilepsy is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about and these findings highlight why days like Purple Day are so important to those living with epilepsy.

“The more we talk about epilepsy, the more we can challenge common misconceptions about it and offer the general public a clearer idea of what epilepsy is.”

For more information about Purple Day and living with epilepsy, visit epilepsy.org.uk/purpleday or call the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.