Sydney, who has been our life members since March 2000, passed away on 26th January, 2011 at the age of 64.  Below is his story in his own words. We will miss him deeply.

“Though born of Jewish parents, I have always lived in India, Mumbai to be precise. My entire life I have lived with my mother and epilepsy, and both have had a profound impact on me.

My mother is the kind of person who never gives up. She always sees what is good for me and urges me to take it on. I attended a school for Jews till the age of 10 and for the next 20 years was a boarder at the Jai Vakil School for special children. There I learnt about colour combinations, how to weave, paint etc. Though I don’t consider myself successful financially, very independent or even able to do a lot of different things, I still consider myself a contributing member to society. I paint cards and pots and sell these to friends and family.

I have accepted my epilepsy but what I don’t like about it is the fact that I am unable to travel alone. As you can imagine this limits my freedom tremendously. I have had epilepsy from the age of one – my seizures were quite severe and frequent till I was put on a new drug (in February 2010 my seizures were totally under control). Being of heavy build I tend to injure myself whenever I fall and this has made my mother all the more protective about me. I love meeting people but have limited opportunity to do so.

I joined SAMMAN the epilepsy support group soon after its inception in 1991 and attended meetings for a few years. Then once again I started attending meetings in 1999 after the E-Cell was set up, fortunately close to my home. My mother and I are both very involved with the group. We teach as well as learn art and craft. However, I don’t like it when group members talk about their epilepsy. I like to focus on other things, to joke and have fun. I am also a movie buff and can watch 2-3 movies a day! My mother tells me I have a very good memory as I can remember things that happened many years past, as well as the different movies and people who acted in them. I am also fluent in English, Hindi, Marathi and Arabic.

In my life, I have been depressed many a time and have found that professional counseling always helps. In fact after I received regular counseling at E-Cell my seizure severity and frequency have gone down. I now get mainly auras and can look after myself pretty well when this happens. E-Cell is my second home – I love to go there and help around whenever I can. In fact it gives me great happiness to be of help!

The constant support I receive from my mother no matter what my mood makes me what I am today. Life has not been easy for her. She is now getting on in years and suffers from severe asthma and arthritis. Often the role gets reversed with me looking after her, which I am most happy to do. Yet it is her jolly disposition and positive outlook that keeps me going.

The Jewish proverb ‘God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers’ rings so true.

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