For the past six years, Charlotte Wood hasn’t had one day without having a seizure due to a rare and severe form of epilepsy.
The nine-year-old from Yowie Bay had her first seizure when she was a seven-month-old baby.
Her father Darren Wood said things became more serious when she reached three years of age.
“She was walking, talking and acting like a typical three-year-old,” Darren said.
“Then one day her kindy called me saying Charlotte was having a serious seizure and they had called an ambulance.
“That particular seizure went for 40 minutes and from that day she hasn’t gone 24 hours without having a seizure.”
The Wood family is calling on the community to get behind the 2019 Lifeguard Challenge, which is raising funds for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation with the aim of this year purchasing an urgently needed Ambulatory EEG Monitor for the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.
Charlotte has relied on EEG tests to diagnose her epilepsy and identify her best course of treatment, with tests showing that Charlotte was having up to 300 seizures a day and having an EEG was the only way they knew these were occurring and how frequently.
Charlotte’s seizures progressively worsened and there was a time when she was completely bedridden. Her development regressed and she lost the ability to walk and talk.
“In the early days we were in the Sydney Children’s Hospital more than we were not,” Mr Wood said.
“But having the Ambulatory EEG Monitor has allowed Charlotte to continue to have the tests she needs in the comfort of our home.
“Thanks to the amazing medical care available, Charlotte is now walking again and her speech is continuing to improve, but she will always need these tests.”
Charlotte currently has about 10 seizures a day and ongoing EEGs are necessary to continually assess her condition, which changes regularly.
“We are so grateful that our local Lifeguards are raising money for an Ambulatory EEG Monitor for the hospital.
“These monitors really make a huge difference to our daughter and to so many other kids with epilepsy and a range of other conditions,” Mr Wood said.
To raise the much-needed funds to purchase an Ambulatory EEG Monitor, lifeguards from Sutherland Shire, Randwick and Waverley Councils will take on a gruelling 30-kilometre fitness challenge from Bondi to Cronulla via Maroubra.
Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce encouraged residents to get behind the lifeguards and donate to their worthy cause.
“Charlotte’s case highlights how important the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick is for many shire families, who rely on the specialist care and equipment available at the hospital,” Mayor Pesce said.
“I hope everyone gets behind our lifeguards by supporting their fundraising efforts and I encourage parents and kids to join us at the finish line event at Cronulla Beach on Sunday for some great fun and activities.”
Residents and onlookers are encouraged to cheer on the lifeguards from any of the vantage points along the course on Sunday, March 17.
The challenge is set to take off from Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach at 6.30am and cross the finish line at Cronulla Beach from 10am where there will be a BBQ and a treasure hunt for the chance to win some fun prizes.
At certain running points and at the finish line event, lifeguards will be carrying donation tins for beach-goers to donate.
To make a donation online visit the 2019 Lifeguard Challenge donation page.