Sophie, or ‘Droz’ to her friends, was a beautiful, talented and enthusiastic girl. She was naturally artistic and touched the hearts of so many. During her studies for TV and film production at Warwickshire College, Sophie suffered her first epileptic seizure just three weeks before her 17th birthday. Soon after, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy was diagnosed. On the evening of July 2nd 2015 at the age of 18 years old, Sophie went for a walk along a canal towpath near to the family home and never returned. Whilst walking, Sophie had suffered an epileptic seizure and had fallen in and drowned.As Sophie’s parents we just felt complete and utter devastation at the loss of our child. There are simply no words, just a void, endless, painful and unbearable. Sophie’s death came on the same day that she received news of achieving the required college grades to study TV production at Bournemouth University. In fact, her final college results were such that she was awarded an Academic Excellence Scholarship, which she was never able to benefit from.

The first year without Sophie was particularly painful. We decided to raise money for epilepsy research by completing a sponsored walk on the first year anniversary of Sophie’s death. The walk took place along the same canal where Sophie lost her life and included the very spot where Sophie was found. We invited those people whose lives she touched, to walk with us and raise funds in her name. A total of 96 walkers took part and raised just over £6,000. Other generous donations have taken the total in Sophie’s Memorial Fund to just over £15,000 to date.

We still miss Sophie’s smile every day and the world seems a little darker without her bubbly personality and infectious giggles to fill our lives, but that will never change. What we can help change however, is to prevent similar tragedies by fundraising for epilepsy research; we can then feel that something positive has come out of losing our own beautiful daughter.

– Ann Reilly and Steven Drozdzik, January 2019

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