Rachel died in her sleep as a result of SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy) on the 26th November 2010 at the age of 31 years. Rachel was very happily married to Phil, and had two wonderful young sons, Joseph and Liam. Joseph, Rachel’s eldest son, was born very prematurely at 23 weeks and spent a number of months in a critical condition in intensive care at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. During this time Rachel was always by his side, fighting every battle with him.Rachel had suffered from epilepsy from the age of 11 years when she had her first nocturnal seizure. At the age of 17 years Rachel also started to have day time seizures. She had no warnings of the seizures and often damaged herself in falls. On the afternoon of the 1st of January 2008 whilst at a family dinner party, Rachel suffered multiple seizures and was hospitalised. Rachel’s memory was badly affected by this experience, particularly her short term memory, and her health never fully recovered. Liam her youngest son was only 10 months old at the time. Rachel was placed on new medication following the multiple seizures and she managed to go until August 2008 without any seizures, but then they started again. At the time of her death Rachel was taking large doses of medication which impacted on her quality of life. She suffered from exhaustion and her immune system seemed to be incredibly weak. The seizures continued.
Despite her poor health Rachel refused to let her epilepsy inhibit her love of life. She never, ever felt sorry for herself and remained the most independent of individuals. She was great fun to be with and had a quirky personality and wicked sense of humour. Rachel was also an extremely caring and compassionate individual and a passionate supporter of the ‘underdog’ and Middlesbrough Football Club!! Rachel supported other epilepsy sufferers through internet chat lines and was a volunteer at a night shelter for the homeless. She had a guaranteed place on the Great North Run for 2011 where she was running for epilepsy charities.
When she died she was at her happiest: she loved her boys, her husband, her family and her new house. She was particularly happy with the early Christmas present of a dishwasher from her parents Dawn and David. Life was good. She had so much to look forward to.
Her family wish her memory to live on through this memorial fund.
– Dawn, David and Tim Rahman; Phil, Joseph and Liam Wardleworth, December 2010
To make a donation to Rachel’s memorial fund, please use the link below.