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Derby Teaching Hospitals apprentice writes book to help others

Published 13/04/2016

A Derby Teaching Hospitals apprentice who lives with epilepsy has written a book to help children who have been diagnosed with the condition.

Emily Donoghue, 21, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 10. She said there was little information available for her or her parents which could have made the experience less frightening and confusing.

So when she realised last year that families were still finding it difficult to access information, she thought she would do something about it.

She said: “I run a Facebook group for young people with epilepsy, and noticed a lot of parents saying they found it difficult to explain to their children what was going on. It was distressing for them and the children. I tried to help by looking for a book, but I couldn’t find one – so I thought I would write one. It’s had a really good reception from the parents I have shared it with.”

The picture book tells the story of a little boy visiting hospital for his first scan. It has been written for children aged between six and 10, and aims to show them the journey from referral to scan. Emily, who teamed up with a young illustrator for the piece, said she hoped it would make the whole experience less frightening. 

Emily, who lives in Belper, said: “I would really like to help young people in this situation, and if this makes it easier for even one child, it will have been worth it. There are so many young people with epilepsy who have a tough time, and I want to try to make life better for them.”

She is planning to put copies of the book in the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital and also create an e-copy which can be viewed online for free. She said that if the book is well-received, she may write more, covering different aspects of childhood epilepsy.

Rachael Wheway, Children’s Epilepsy Nurse at Derbyshire Children’s Hospital, said: “Emily clearly really understands what a child with epilepsy goes through, and putting her experiences down in this way will be of huge benefit to a lot of families. The pictures are great as they show children what they will see. It could make the experience less frightening for them. I would be delighted to use this book with our patients and families.”

Emily’s work to support young people with epilepsy has recently brought her a nomination in the Epilepsy Champion Awards. She has been put forward for an Inspiring Champion Award, which celebrates the achievements of a young person with epilepsy who is a true inspiration to everyone around them. She will find out whether she has been successful at an awards ceremony in May. 

Emily Donoghue
Last Modified 13/04/2016