Growing up, Nick was the closest cousin to my age (strictly a 'first cousin, once removed', but let's not over complicate things). Anyone who went to school with me will remember Nick. We both went to The Forest and although he was a few years below me Nick was well known to all my friends who helped make sure he was not either getting into trouble or causing any trouble...
When Nick was 16, he was struck down by a completely random virus, which caused encephalitis (inflammation of part of the brain) and brain damage. Nobody knows how he caught it, but he was in intensive care for a long while and had to learn to walk and talk and eat and read, and basically live, all over again.
The damage was severe and led to complications throughout the rest of his life ranging from physical challenges (epilepsy, stomach ulcers, diabetes, cataracts, partial deafness, problems with his pancreas, and more) to mental difficulties (learning difficulties, poor memory, word finding difficulties, poor concentration, etc). He had a lot to cope with… but cope he did.
He passed his motorbike test (first time) and, when health allowed, could be found enjoying the freedom that offered. He loved snooker, and in particular loved it when he beat me at it! He had a heart of gold, a love for animals and a desire for peace and calm be that through his Tai Chi, meditation or passion for Buddhism. Nick had passion but took joy from normality. When I close my eyes and picture him, I remember us sitting on the benches outside the Dog and Partridge in Yateley on a summers evening just enjoying catching up.
At the age of 36, having fought the illness for over 20 years, Nick finally lost the fight to encephalitis and sadly passed away. He is now at peace.
As a way of remembering Nick I will be raising money in aid of the Encephalitis Society, a charity dedicated to helping people who are battling with the illness, improving their quality of life and ensuring they never feel alone. I will be running the Great South Run in October along with Nick’s dad, Julian, Nick’s sisters, Rebecca and Bee, Nick’s Aunt Stephanie, Godmother Laura and family friend Gary.
Please help us support people battling with encephalitis by donating to the charity. Just click the donate button and in less time than it takes me to run a mile you will have made a difference to someone experiencing the same life challenges as Nick.
Your generosity is appreciated.
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