Brothers complete Ironman after son's epilepsy diagnosis

Report by ITV Central's Nancy Cole

Two brothers from Solihull have competed in an Ironman triathlon today to raise awareness of epilepsy.

It's a condition that seriously affects one of their children.

Rich Stevens' four year old son Ralph developed epilepsy last year, causing frequent seizures.

Medication is helping to manage Ralph’s larger fits to a certain extent but he still has multiple myoclonic and atonic seizures most days.

Doctors admit it’s an unpredictable condition which is very difficult to accurately diagnose and treat on a long term basis.

The brothers raced today at the Ironman event in Staffordshire to raise funds for the charity Epilepsy Action.

It involved a 1900m swim, 90km bike ride and half marathon run to finish.

Rich Stevens' four year old son Ralph developed epilepsy last year, causing frequent seizures Credit: Family handout

Rich, 34, and his 32 year old brother Mike are born and bred in Solihull and donations on their JustGiving page have already surpassed £11,500.

Fitness and nutrition coach Arj Thiruchelvam has been training them for the Ironman 70.3 challenge in Stafford.

Prior to starting their intense eight month training programme, Rich and Mike had limited swimming experience but they have made significant progress with expert support from Kate Thiruchelvam.

The brothers hope the money raised will help fund research to make that a reality for those living with epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and causes frequent seizures.

Seizures are bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works. They can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Epilepsy can start at any age, but usually starts either in childhood or in people over 60.

It's often lifelong, but can sometimes get slowly better over time.

What are the symptoms?

Seizures can affect people in different ways, depending on which part of the brain is involved.

Possible symptoms include:

  • uncontrollable jerking and shaking, called a "fit"

  • losing awareness and staring blankly into space

  • becoming stiff

  • strange sensations, such as a "rising" feeling in the tummy, unusual smells or tastes, and a tingling feeling in your arms or legs

  • collapsing

Sometimes you might pass out and not remember what happened.

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