John shared his immense kindness, gentleness, and intelligence with all those he met, spreading good humour and joy.With his great strength and determination he overcame two cancers and an iatrogenic heart attack, but since epilepsy was diagnosed 3 years ago his condition deteriorated steadily, culminating in his death on 22/2/15.

Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological condition in later life, after stroke and dementia. Almost a quarter of epilepsy diagnoses are from those over 60. One in three epilepsies are, like Dad’s, uncontrolled by medication. Seizures are a bit like an electrical power surge in a circuit without a fuse to protect it – they “blowout” neural components involved, causing enduring damage. Dad’s major seizures occurred every 6-8 weeks over his last 3 years, requiring hospitalisations and reducing both the quantity and quality of his life.

Dad faced his frequently changing situation with remarkable, yet typical, courage and stoicism. He would probably have hated us touching on the darker side of his fading light – he was never one to complain or to dwell on depressing things, sidestepping his own problems to work on maximizing the happiness of those around him. We should most certainly focus on the brilliance of his light and remember all the many, many good times. Yet, if we can also highlight the, perhaps, under-appreciated severity and under-researched disease of epilepsy, this would seem like the time and the place. We hope you will join us in funding research to fight this condition.

– Jane & Mark Harwood, March 2015

To make a donation to John’s memorial fund, please use the link below.