Women dine out in style to help raise awareness of SUDEP

Collingham Ladies at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)
Collingham Ladies at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)
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Women turned out in their finery to remember a young man who died suddenly in December 2010.

Lee Johnson, of Collingham, was just 24 when the sports mad young man, on the verge of a new career as a soccer coach in America died.

Becky Johnson, Vicky Johnson, Brenda Wilson at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)

Becky Johnson, Vicky Johnson, Brenda Wilson at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)

He had become another victim of SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.

Since that day his family, led by Dad Simon, Mum Vicky and sister Becky, have been campaigning to raise awareness of Epilepsy and try to reduce the stigma surrounding the condition.

Mum Vicky explained that her son Lee developed a mild case of epilepsy at the age of nine.

“The medication he took controlled his condition well - he experienced occasional nocturnal seizures but led a normal, healthy life.”

Julie Harford, Evelyn Cuthbert, Claire Parker at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)

Julie Harford, Evelyn Cuthbert, Claire Parker at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)

The former Collingham Lady Hastings and St John Fisher pupil continued his love of sport, playing for Collingham Junior football club and Scarcroft cricket club and went on to study at Northumbria University.

“He knew the three most common situations that could trigger a seizure were excess alcohol, sleep deprivation and stress - he adapted his lifestyle to ensure the chances of these three situations arising were minimal,” added Vicky.

She added: “The charity is working closely with the Leeds General Infirmary to fund new video telemetry equipment, reducing the waiting time for examination from two years to eight months.”

She explained that over 500,000 people in the UK have epilepsy and there are three epilepsy related deaths every day in the UK.

Lesley Johnson, Sally Johnson, Margaret Ledingham-Smith at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)

Lesley Johnson, Sally Johnson, Margaret Ledingham-Smith at the Lee's Smile Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club. (S)

With the campaign came the creation of Lee’s Smile which has already raised £200,000 for the cause.

After a highly successful Smile with the Stars Ball at Leeds in March, the charity recently held its annual Ladies Luncheon at Wetherby Golf Club.

Simon Johnson said: “Once again this was a huge success raising £2,071 for the charity.

“We had 80 ladies who attended the event which included entertainment by Polly Wearmouth of Gateways School and a beauty demonstration by Debra Lynn, of Wetherby.”

Simon added that the next event for the charity will be the Beer Festival at the Windmill Inn in Linton on July 18. Lee had worked at the pub.