The ex-wife of Darren Ryan, the British tourist with epilepsy who died following a drowning incident in Paphos, is raising awareness and money for a good cause.
Nicola Ryan, whose 34-year-old ex husband died in August following an epileptic seizure in Cyprus, spoke to Stoke Sentinel about her ordeal.
Darren, who was vacationing with his family in Paphos, collapsed following an epileptic seizure during a swim in a hotel pool on August 9. He was rushed to Paphos General Hospital and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit until he passed away ten days later.
'It was a massive shock to lose him. The hardest part was telling our daughter. We both miss him terribly, I feel like I've lost my best friend'
Local doctors said Darren had excess accumulation of fluid in the brain, which ultimately caused his death following a heart attack.
Nicola, who had flown to Cyprus to be with Darren and his family after getting a phone call, said the seizures had become more frequent and more complex in the last couple of years.
The couple had a daughter together, who is now four years old, with Nicola saying Darren “wanted to live his life as normally as everyone else” and that they were still close despite their separation.
"It was a massive shock to lose him. The hardest part was telling our daughter. We both miss him terribly, I feel like I've lost my best friend," Nicola said.
Make every epilepsy death count
The 35-year-old mother is now trying to raise awareness by promoting epilepsy charity SUDEP Action in the UK (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy).
"We have to focus on something positive to help us through this, so we are doing a lot of work with the charity SUDEP Action.”
Nicola is promoting SUDEP Action’s checklist, which supports collaboration between patients or their carers and doctors in helping manage or minimise risks. She also got in touch with singer Dave Bithell, who was friends with Darren, who has dedicated his fourth CD album and proceeds to the cause.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder with a number of possible causes, including genetics, illness, injury and abnormal development. Triggers for seizures can vary from lack of sleep to alcohol consumption and stress, among others.
Most people with epilepsy lead full, active lives but have to take a number of precautions, including medication. Experts say there is lack of education in the general public about epilepsy and a basic understanding of the condition.