AN INSPIRATIONAL mum who has raised more than £60,000 for epileptic youngsters has been nominated for a national award.
Andrea Fletcher, 44, set up her own charity called Darwin and Friends after her son was diagnosed with the condition.
Darwin, now 11, was just five and a half months old when he started having seizures.
Despite doctors saying brain damage would leave him physically and mentally disabled, the youngster is able to live a normal life.
After doctors diagnosed Darwin with a form of epilepsy called west syndrome, his mum decided to raise money for research and to support other families affected by the condition.
Mrs Fletcher, of Rantree Fold, Basildon, said: “When he started having the seizures he lost everything he had already learnt, so he went back to being like a newborn baby.
“My mum had died six weeks before, so it was a really difficult time, but you just have to get on with things.
“We were told he would end up physically and mentally impaired because of the damage caused to his brain. He had some health problems and has been diagnosed with autism, but he has come off really well compared to a lot of other children with the same condition.
“That is why I started raising money.”
The dedicated fundraiser hosts regular race nights and annual charity balls for more than 200 guests, with the next one set to take place at Stock Brook Manor, Billericay, on Saturday.
After raising more than £60,000 since 2005, Mrs Fletcher has been nominated for the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards.
The awards, which take place in London in March, recognise the outstanding contribution people make towards raising awareness and understanding of epilepsy, and improving the lives of children and young people with the condition.
Mrs Fletcher added: “I am really surprised to be nominated.
I don’t really think I deserve it. I don’t fundraise every single day of my life. I’m sure there are people who do more than me.”