A DAD and an uncle are getting ready to take on an ironman challenge this weekend in honour of their ‘warrior’.
Solihull brothers Rich and Mike Stevens are taking on the long-distance triathlon to raise funds for Epilepsy Action in honour of Rich’s son Ralph.
The four-year-old was diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that involves lots of different seizure types which progressively gets worse, last June.
Rich said: “Until the age of three and a half, Ralph showed no signs of epilepsy or anything similar. He was a perfectly happy and healthy boy when one day he suddenly had a tonic clonic seizure and was taken to hospital.
“He was then fine for about two weeks until the same thing happened again. It then happened five days later and from then it was happening multiple times each day. Since then, we’ve been on a hellish journey of navigating Ralph’s epilepsy.
“However, epilepsy is not just seizures. For Ralph it seems his energy levels have dropped, his coordination has deteriorated, and his development has regressed.”
Since he was diagnosed a matter of months ago, all aspects of Ralph’s life have been affected by epilepsy.
Rich added: “Ralph is an absolute warrior. He’s been through so much this year and he continues to smile, play and enjoy life.
“He’s had so many tests and has never complained. He continues to play despite bandages, bruises, cuts and lumps all over his body.
“We are mega proud of Ralph for hundreds of reasons but in particular for his incredible strength and huge heart.”
Inspired by Ralph’s warrior-like attitude, Rich and his brother Mike wanted to follow suit and take on their own warrior challenge.
The duo will be taking on a 1.9km swim, followed by a 90km bike ride and a 21km run in Stafford on Sunday (June 11).
So far they have raised £11,000 for Epilepsy Action and have been awarded an Epilepsy Star award by the charity.
Philippa Cartwright, director of fundraising at Epilepsy Action, said: “We’re honoured to give Rich and Mike this month’s Epilepsy Star award to celebrate their huge fundraising effort.
“After such a challenging year for the family and the months of intensive training in preparation for their Ironman, it’s fantastic to be able to recognise Rich and Mike’s achievements.”
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