If you're a regular reader, you probably know I have epilepsy. Although I have the most severe kind of seizures, where I fall unconscious, writhe on the floor and froth at the mouth, I am fortunate that this only happens to me 2, maybe 3 times a year. I take medication that mostly keeps those annoying "brain storms" well under control, enabling me to carry on leading a full life and working my socks off as a freelance wordsmith.
Others in my position are not so lucky. Around 1000 people in the UK die every year as a result of epilepsy. That's 3 a day. It might not sound much but it's more than the total number of UK deaths from Aids and cot deaths combined. And around 400 of those deaths are preventable.
The son of one of my fellow journalists lost a friend of his not long ago. Laura Turner was just 14 when she passed away in January 2005 from SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy). Stuart Lawrence is paying tribute to Laura by organising a benefit gig in her name to raise much-needed funds for the charity Epilepsy Bereaved.
Stuart is just 16 and is to be admired for organising the concert. It will take place in Guildford at the Electric Theatre on Wednesday 29 August. Tickets cost £8 and 4 bands are playing (Used Inc., Detached, Last Remaining Monkey and Underdog Victory).
If you've read this far and you live in Guildford, please support this very worthy cause. You'll be making the 450,000 people in the UK who have epilepsy very happy and you'll be providing some comfort to Laura's parents, who will be glad their daughter did not die in vain.
If you;re still reading and can't get to the gig, please spread the word - go and blog about it, write a news story if you're in a position to, tell your friends on Facebook, or whatever.
Just last week, my fellow hacks managed to raise more than 2 grand for Macmillan Cancer in honour of one of our own who died last year from that horrible disease. I'd like to think that if you help spread the word on this gig, Stuart Lawrence can perhaps raise even more in memory of Laura Turner.