Schoolgirl refuses to be beaten by epilepsy

Amy Gibson with her mum Jayne and deputy headteacher Andy Samways.
Amy Gibson with her mum Jayne and deputy headteacher Andy Samways.
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A schoolgirl with epilepsy, who has battled seizures to continue with her studies, has been honoured for her approach to life.

Amy Gibson, who attends Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard and is currently preparing for her GCSEs, was diagnosed with epilepsy six years ago.

In the last 12 months, the 15-year-old has suffered from a more frequent number of fits, which are a feature of the condition. She recently needed hospital treatment after cracking her skull during a fit in the school changing rooms.

Last Tuesday, Amy received a special trophy – The Jan Wait Memorial Award – at an achievement and attainment ceremony at the school.

“I didn’t know I was getting an award until the morning and when they read out my name my heart was beating and I was in shock,” said Amy, from Lindsey Avenue.

“My legs were shaking, but I was really happy and it is special.”

The award remembers the school’s learning mentor Mrs Wait, who died last term, and recognises a student who has overcome adversity.

Amy’s mum, Jayne, said she and husband Matthew had kept the award a secret from their daughter for fear of triggering a fit.

“I was quite teary when I found out and didn’t know what to say,” said Jayne.

“We were so pleased and proud, but it was all a surprise for Amy.”

More than 90 pupils packed into the awards evening, with many others receiving certificates, but assistant headteacher Chris Ryall said it was Amy’s attitude which made her stand out.

“Amy’s approach to everything is positive and enthusiastic and although she has to miss school sometimes she is always determined to catch up,” he said.

“She never uses epilepsy as an excuse and works very hard.”