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#PurpleDay - (50 Shades of Purple) Fundraiser

March 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM

If you have read my previous blogs on Epilepsy you will know that I organised a Purple Day on 24 March 2017 to raise money for Epilepsy Action.

Purple Day - Supporting Epilepsy Around The World

There was more purple in the office than you could shake a one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater at. There were purple tops, purple jumpers and dresses, purple scarves, purple nails, purple eye shadow, purple hair..... even a pair of purple pants!!!! I am really happy that so many of my colleagues got into the spirit of Purple Day. They selflessly munched their way through cakes and put their heads together to complete the Purple Quiz I concocted (there were numerous complaints about it being too difficult). The head scratching was worth it though as the winner received a purple prize box filled with lots of purple goodies.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable day and my colleagues were so generous that as a result, we will be donating £100.00. The money will be sent to Epilepsy Action and will be used to help them give expert advice to those with epilepsy, help towards reducing isolation and improve public attitudes, it will help to influence decision makers, enable vital research and support professionals.

• £6.00 could help experts support someone newly diagnosed with epilepsy by providing advice and information when they need it most

• £25.00 could help campaign to protect existing epilepsy specialist nurses from NHS cuts

• £50.00 could fund a six month supply of up-to-date information booklets and leaflets needed by an epilepsy specialist nurse for their patients

• £180.00 could fund an awareness session at a school, work place or care home by a specially trained volunteer

• £250.00 could help fund brand new research, such as a long-term clinical study by a research centre of excellence

Epilepsy Action provides vital support and expert advice, raises awareness and fights for a better deal for people with epilepsy. I always say to my little boy that small deeds performed often help to make the world a better place. I hope that many of you reading this will agree and I want to tell you that there are many ways you could get involved and help Epilepsy Action to continue the amazing work they do.

Purple Day Collage

You could give money in memory of a loved one or as part of a celebration, you could raise money with work colleagues or friends like I have with a coffee morning or a sponsored event, you could join Epilepsy Action’s weekly lottery, you could fill a small box or jar with loose change and donate it once it’s full, you could recycle unwanted items such as inkjet cartridges, stamps, coins or notes even cars (full details can be found on Epilepsy Actions website https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/involved/fundraise/recycling), or you could buy merchandise from the Epilepsy Action online shop.

Epilepsy Action receives almost no government funding and so relies on donations from people like me and you to provide the amazing services to people with epilepsy. £9.00 out of every £10.00 needed is received through donations. And even small amounts make a big difference.

Single donations

• £12.00 will help people get the advice they need to begin taking control of their epilepsy

• £25.00 will help more people to find the support they need near them

• £37.00 will help raise awareness so more people with epilepsy can feel safer in public

Regular donations

• £3.00 a month will help set up more support groups across the UK

• £8.00 a month will help people get expert advice and the confidence to push for better care and treatment

• £12.00 a month will help fund work to make sure more people understand the challenges of living with epilepsy and know what to do to help

I really hope that I have inspired you to get together with friends and family to raise money for this amazing charity. But if this is not possible for you right now for whatever reason I ask that you talk about epilepsy. The condition itself, the symptoms to look out for, how help can be obtained, what to do if you see someone having a seizure, the work of Epilepsy Action. My previous blogs have lots of information which can be found here #PurpleDay - Raising Awareness for Epilepsy & #PurpleDay - Identifying Types of Epilepsy and the Epilepsy Action website is full of helpful advice and stories from people with epilepsy.

If you talk about epilepsy it will not be so daunting for those who suffer, they will be able to talk freely about their condition and the affect it has on their life. The person you are talking to may be able to donate or will speak to others they know who could go on to help. It’s called a chain reaction and by working together we can all help to make a difference and bring epilepsy out of the shadows, which is what Purple Day is all about.

About the Author

Samantha Handley Photo

Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.

Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.

Posted in: Blog

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#PurpleDay - Identifying Types of Epilepsy

March 8, 2017 at 9:00 AM

You might remember the blog I did recently about epilepsy and the work of Epilepsy Action, if you didn’t see it please follow this link.

With #PurpleDay only a few short weeks away I wanted to give you more information about the different types of epilepsy.

The brain is divided into two hemispheres each consisting of four lobes- the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. There are about 40 different types of seizures which can happen in any part of the brain. The types of seizure are divided into two groups and are then sub-categorised.

Seizure types & sub-categories chart

The temporal lobes are responsible for many functions including hearing, speech, memory, emotions and learning. Temporal lobes seizures usually last between 30 seconds and two minutes.

The frontal lobes are responsible for making decisions, solving problems, behaviour, consciousness and emotions. Frontal lobe seizures usually last less than 30 seconds and often happen during sleep.

The parietal lobes are responsible for processing information from the different senses in the body, processing language, writing and maths skills. Parietal lobe seizures last between a few seconds and a few minutes and affect about one in twenty people with epilepsy.

The occipital lobes process information relating to vision. Occipital lobe seizures last for seconds and can affect between one in five and one in ten people with epilepsy.

Focal Seizures

In focal seizures the seizure starts in, and affects only part of the brain but the part affected could be large or small. During a focal seizure a person might be aware of what is going on around them but equally, they might not as different areas of the brain are responsible for controlling different movements, bodily functions and feelings meaning focal seizures can cause many different symptoms. Experiences during the seizure vary depending on where in the brain the seizure occurs and what that part of the brain usually does.

Sometimes focal seizures spread from one side to both sides of the brain. This is called a secondarily generalised seizure as it begins as a focal seizure before becoming generalised. When this happens a person becomes unconscious and will usually have a tonic clonic seizure.

Generalised Seizures

Generalised seizures affect both sides of the brain at once and can happen without warning. A person is usually unconscious if only for a few seconds. Afterwards they will not remember what happened during the seizure.

Full details on different types of seizures and the symptoms a person might experience can be found in the Advice and Information References section of the Epilepsy Action or by emailing helpline@epilepsyaction.org.uk but below is a handy table providing a brief overview of the different subcategories for both Focal and Generalised seizures so that you know what to look out for if you are in the company of someone who has an epileptic fit.

Focal Seizures Generalised Seizures

Simple Focal Seizures (SFS)

A small part of one of the lobes is affected. The person is conscious and will usually know that something is happening and will remember the seizure afterwards

Absence Seizures

Are more common in children and can happen frequently. During an absence a person becomes unconscious for a short time

Complex Focal Seizures (CFS)

A larger part of one hemisphere is affected. The person's consciousness may be affected, they may be confused and make strange or repetitive movements

Tonic Seizures

A person's muscles become stiff and if standing they may fall backwards which may cause injury to the back of their head. Tonic seizures tend to happen without warning and be brief

Atonic Seizures

A person's muscles suddenly relax and they become floppy. If standing they often fall forwards which may cause injury to their head or face

Myclonic Seizures

Are muscle jerks which are brief and can happen in clusters, muscle jerks are not always caused by epilepsy

Clonic Seizures

Are convulsive seizures but the person does not go stiff at the start

Tonic Clonic Seizures

The person becomes unconscious and their body goes stiff. If standing they usually fall backwards. During the seizure the person will jerk and shake as their muscle's relax and tighten rhythmically

What to do following a seizure

If you think that you have had a seizure you should visit your GP who will arrange for you to see an Epilepsy Specialist ensuring that you get the right diagnosis and treatment.

If you are diagnosed with Epilepsy it can be useful to keep a seizure diary, a record that helps the individual as well as their doctor or specialist to know what’s been happening, when seizures occur, the type and possible triggers.

How to help

On #PurpleDay, 26 March 2017 Epilepsy Action will be publishing stories from people with the condition about how epilepsy affects their daily lives. You can do your bit to raise awareness by sharing this blog or even having your own fundraising day like I will be doing.

You could also sign up for a newsletter from Epilepsy Action by visiting www.epilepsy.org.uk.

About the Author

Samantha Handley Photo

Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.

Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.

Posted in: Blog

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#PurpleDay - Raising Awareness for Epilepsy

February 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Epilepsy is a term I have heard in the past and one that I am hearing more often, most recently after a friend lost a loved one following an epileptic seizure.

My serious injury colleagues at Spencers also come across this condition when representing clients who have suffered life changing head injuries and because of what I have learned about epilepsy, this year on 26 March I will be wearing purple along with people all around the world to raise awareness and help Epilepsy Action “bring epilepsy out of the shadows”.

Purple Day - Supporting Epilepsy Around The World

What is epilepsy?

•  Everyday 87 people in the UK are diagnosed with epilepsy and there are more than 500,000 affected by the condition, that equates to one person out of 100

•  Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by malfunctioning nerve cell activity in the brain, these malfunctions cause episodes known as seizures

•  The severity of a seizure can vary from person to person and symptoms can range from staring blankly for seconds or minutes, to a loss of consciousness or even uncontrollable shaking

•  It can start at any age but is usually diagnosed in people under 20 or over 65, this is thought to be due to some causes of epilepsy being more common in these age groups

•  One in 20 people will have a seizure in their life but this does not mean they have epilepsy

•  One in 50 people will have epilepsy at some time but not everyone with epilepsy will have it for life.

•  Epilepsy is most commonly treated with medication called anti-epileptic drugs (AED's) which aim to stop seizures happening.

Types of epilepsy

There are thought to be around 40 different types of seizure and a person may have more than one type. Seizures are commonly divided into two groups and each group is then sub categorised. There is so much information about the types of epilepsy and I want to share this in more detail in the run up to #PurpleDay so look out for further information in future blogs.

Causes of epilepsy

Different epilepsies can have different underlying causes which may be complex or difficult to identify. A person may start having seizures because of one or more of the following:

•  A genetic tendency, passed down from one or both parents (inherited)

•  A genetic tendency that is not inherited, but is a new change in the person's genes

•  A structural or symptomatic change in the brain, such as the brain not developing properly, or damage caused by a brain injury, infections like meningitis, a stroke or tumour

•  A structural change due to genetic conditions such as tuberous sclerosis (a condition that causes growths in organs including the brain which can cause epilepsy) or neurofibromatosis (a condition that causes benign tumours to grow on the covering of nerves which can cause epilepsy)

Epileptic seizure triggers

Triggers are situations that can bring on a seizure in some people with epilepsy. As with severity, triggers can vary from person to person but common triggers include tiredness and lack of sleep, stress, alcohol and not taking medication. Flashing lights may cause a seizure if a person has photosensitive epilepsy, this is thought to be less than 5% of people with epilepsy.

Seizure First Aid -  Image reproduced with permission from The Epilepsy Network (TEN)

Epilepsy Action

Epilepsy Action is a charity that improves the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy. They give advice, improve healthcare, fund research and campaign for change. You can find further information regarding epilepsy and the charity by visiting their website www.epilepsy.org.uk or calling 0808 800 5050.

On Purple Day (March 26) Epilepsy Action will be sharing stories from people with epilepsy about their feelings, seizures and how the condition affects their daily lives in the hope that people will understand more about epilepsy and the impact it has on people’s lives.

If you want to help the valuable work of Epilepsy Action there are a number of ways to donate. You can:

•  Call 0113 210 8857

•  Text “ACT NOW” to 70700 to donate £5*

•  Buy a wristband from the Epilepsy Action shop

•  Leave a gift in your will, my colleague Samantha Ibrahim is an expert in Wills and Probate and can offer you advice on this. Samantha can be contacted on 01246 266637

Your donation would improve the lives of people affected by epilepsy when they need it most but, consider helping raising awareness as well. I will be encouraging my friends, family and colleagues to wear purple on 26 March and you can do the same. You can also share this article on social media to spread awareness far and wide.

*Texts cost £5 plus your standard network rate. Epilepsy Action will receive 100 percent of the donation. UK only.

About the Author

Samantha Handley Photo

Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.

Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.

Posted in: Blog

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Back to Basics: What to do if you are involved in a Road Traffic Accident

December 20, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Sadly you can be involved in an accident at any time during your driving life whether you are 17, 70 or anywhere in between. One thing I hear very often from my clients at the start of a claim is “I didn't know what details to get; I've never had an accident before”.

So, here’s a guide to help drivers after an accident on the road:

1.   Stop - It sounds simple but even if you are involved in a minor collision you should stop to assess if there is any damage to your vehicle, another vehicle or any property.

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is an offence under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

Police Car

2.   Call Emergency services - Assess whether assistance is needed and call 999 if necessary. If the accident causes any injury or damage it must be reported to a Police station within 24 hours. You should note down the log or reference number, the officer's name and PC number and the station details.

Failing to report an accident is also an offence under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

3.   Exchange details - After an accident involving another vehicle or property you must provide your details to any party involved.

Failing to provide driver information is an offence under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

If the accident involved another vehicle you should obtain the following details:

  •   Driver's name, address and telephone number

  •  The company name or registered keeper name, address and telephone number (if the driver is not the vehicle owner)

  •  Vehicle registration

  •  Insurance provider

  •  Policy number

Try not to admit fault or apologise until all the facts are established as this may affect your insurance and later decisions on liability.

4.   Note accident details - Life carries on after an accident and it’s easy to forget the little details. It's a good idea to keep a written account of what happened to be able to confirm and recall at a later date. These details should include the accident time, location and description. A sketch of the scene and vehicle positions might also help.

You might not realise that you are injured at the time of the accident if you are in shock but if an injury becomes apparent for you or a passenger, consider seeing your GP or dialling 111 and keep a records of any treatment and medication received.

5.   Photos - It is all too easy to jot down the other vehicles registration in a hurry but then not know whether that 'C' was meant to be a 'G' or if that quickly scrawled 'U' was actually an 'V'. If you take a picture of the registration with your phone you'll be sure to give your insurers the correct information which saves time when making a claim.

It’s also worth getting photos of the damage caused to all vehicles involved and of the accident location and road markings.

Car Accident Damage

6.   Foreign vehicles - If you are involved in an accident with a vehicle from a foreign country exchanging details may be difficult due to language barriers. You should try to obtain the Green Card details from the driver which will confirm the vehicle insurance details. If the vehicle is a heavy goods lorry the registrations for the cab and trailer will be different so make sure you note and take pictures of both including the country of origin. It would also be useful to take a photo of the signwriting on the vehicle as this may identify the owner.

7.   Witnesses - Even if the accident circumstances seem straight forward or if the other driver apologises to you after the accident, if anyone witnessed the accident ask them if they would provide a statement. If they are willing to do so ask them for their full name, address and telephone number.

8.   Report the accident - If you were driving a company vehicle when the accident occurred you should follow your company’s own procedures but also report the accident to your own insurers as soon as possible even if you do not intend to pursue a claim against the other driver. Failing to report an accident to your insurers could invalidate your policy.

The above steps outline what you should do immediately following an incident but I would suggest that there is one further and ongoing step you should bear in mind.

9.   Keep letters and documents safe - If you are pursuing a claim for damages following an accident you may receive letters from a number of people assisting you including (but not limited to) your insurers, your solicitors, medical agencies or the Police, or from people looking to claim losses from you.

Until the claim is resolved keep copies of all correspondence received as well as the documents that support the losses you have incurred. If you cannot provide proof of a loss then you may be unable to recover it.

Finally, please see the downloadable PDF below which you could print and keep in your vehicle in case you are ever unfortunate enough to be involved in a Road Traffic Accident.


If you have any comments on this guide or there are other details you think should be included within it please comment and don't forget to share the guide with your friends and family on Social Media! Should you require any advice following an accident, please contact Spencers on 08000 93 00 94.

About the Author

Samantha Handley Photo

Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.

Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.

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