Actor and musician Martin Kemp has lived with epilepsy since he underwent brain surgery in 1995, and is passionate about raising awareness of the condition.
“I live with epilepsy full time — I’ve been on medication now for around 18 years but, with the right treatment, epilepsy can be suppressed — and it is in my case,” he says.
Kemp’s epilepsy began following surgery to remove two brain tumours. “The things that happened to me after my operation resulted from bruising and trauma to the brain and, thank God, most of the effects disappeared. But, obviously, for a lot of people that is not the case and they have to live with that every day.”
Public understanding of epilepsy is poor, clouded by misconceptions and unfounded fears.
It is something that affects him to this day. “I still carry a few scars, not just physical scars but mental scars from what happened over 18 years ago.”
Kemp points to the support that he has had from his wife, Shirlie, and the rest of his family as a major factor in his ability to cope and stay positive. “It’s the corniest thing in the world to say this about someone, but Shirlie was a rock and she was my touchstone.”