In 2005 my brother Jamie, at the age of 26, died as a result of a seizure. It was impossibly sad for our family and his friends... here we had a big, strong lad, 6 feet 6 inches tall and looking like the picture of health, taken from us all in such unnecessary fashion.
Young people, in particular, often feel embarrassed about having epilepsy. Not only that, people who don't have it are often embarrassed when they see someone have a seizure. It doesn't look very nice, and nobody really knows what to do if it happens. It can be an awful thing to witness, but it's simply one those cruel little tricks that nature likes to play on the human race from time to time.
It's been said that video games can trigger seizures. Jamie loved video games... I'd often come home from work, turn on my games console and find that he'd destroyed my high scores on my favourite games while I was out.
I know that some 3% of epilepsy sufferers have their seizures triggered by flashing lights, and that video games have been known to contribute towards this. I don't know if his gaming contributed to his development of epilepsy, but I'm happy that he got such enjoyment from games while he was able to.
Computer and video games are my passion. I've been playing them since the 1970s and will continue to do so for as long as I can wield a controller. I'm currently writing a book about them and I thought it would be nice to tie in what I'm doing with a good cause. To that end, I've decided to play computer games on the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum all day on the 26th March 2017, and stream my efforts over Twitch for any interested parties to watch.
It should be a fun way to raise funds for a cause that has a personal meaning to me but which I feel is often overlooked. Young Epilepsy uses funds to help support young people with epilepsy and give them better futures, so if I can help to raise awareness at all through my efforts (and a wee bit of cash, of course) then it will be a day well spent.
Visit my Twitch channel on the day to see how I'm doing and offer support, encouragement and even choose the games I'm going to play. Your physical support will be much appreciated, and your financial support will help to brighten the days and lives of young people who find themselves living under a shadow through no fault of their own.