A GRIEVING dad is running the London Marathon in memory of his 25-year-old son who died suddenly just before Christmas from a little-known condition.
Grant Rothwell, from Hawkwell, died unexpectedly on December 16 after suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy for 16 years.
His dad Colin, aged 54, is running this year’s marathon for a charity called Epilepsy Bereaved, which raises awareness about Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.
Colin, a postman in Hockley, said: “Grant dying just before Christmas was an absolute nightmare. It was very difficult for us over the Christmas period.
“Grant went to bed about 9.30pm. He had a small fit in the course of the night and we found him the next morning. No-one had ever told us he would never make it to old age.
“He had been quite poorly in October and spent time in hospital, but was fine afterwards.
“He hadn’t seen a doctor for two weeks before he died, so he had to have a post-mortem. We are still waiting for a date for the inquest.”
Epilepsy Bereaved was founded by a group of mums whose children had all suffered a similar fate to Grant. The charity is trying to find out why these youngsters with epilepsy die so suddenly.
Colin, who lives in Brookside and is a member of Benfleet Running Club, was already planning to run the marathon and, after Grant’s death, he decided to raise money for Epilepsy Bereaved.
Super-fit Colin has already run an incredible 16 marathons in eight years, including London, New York and Chicago. He said: “We’d always go away as a family for the weekend.”
Grant, who also had learning difficulties, went to Cedar Hall Special School, in Thundersley, and the Westerings Primary School, in Hawkwell. Grant’s mum Gina, is a family nurse in Shoebury.
He also leaves behind 30-year-old sister, Kirsty, and brothers Jordan, 15, and Bradley, 28.
Jordan is raising money for the charity by selling plastic wristbands at his school, Greensward Academy, in Hockley.
Colin said: “Grant was such a gentle guy who loved nothing better than getting together with the family.
“He had a good sense of humour and very rarely moaned about his epilepsy. We are so privileged to have had a son like Grant.”
His parents always made sure one of them was with him all the time, in case he suffered a seizure. At the time of his death, Grant was taking five lots of medication, but still suffered from major fits.
So far, Colin has raised almost £1,000 in just a week since the appeal started and is aiming to raise another £500.
To sponsor him, go to: www.just giving.com/running-for-grant.