Jump­ing at chance to help

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Leah Roberts

HIL­TON res­i­dent Aish­ling Ni Bhri­onn says her brother John Byrne, who died last year as a re­sult of epilepsy, is the only man she’d jump out of a plane for.

On April 1, 40 jumpers from around the world will leap from a plane to raise money for epilepsy.

Ire­land-born Ms Ni Bhri­onn said the pass­ing of her brother was com­pletely un­ex­pected.

“He passed away in his sleep from SUDEP (sud­den un­ex­pected death in epilepsy),” she said.

“Most peo­ple don’t re­ally know any­thing about epilepsy or know what to do if some­one has a seizure.

“A lot of peo­ple think some­one passes away from epilepsy if they fall and hit their head or swal­low their tongue, which is not al­ways the case.

“It was re­ally dif­fi­cult and a hor­ri­ble time for our fam­ily; he had been un­well since he was a lit­tle boy.

“He had a brain tu­mour and had lots of surg­eries but he al­ways came out the other end amaz­ing.

“He never let his surg­eries or epilepsy af­fect how he lived his life. He was such a light and in­spi­ra­tion.”

To cel­e­brate her brother’s life, Ms Ni Bhri­onn said her fam­ily de­cided to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“I flew home the day af­ter I heard and our whole fam­ily ral­lied to­gether,” she said.

“We in­vited ev­ery­one he knew to cel­e­brate him and it was such a beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. I never knew what peo­ple got from that un­til my fam­ily did that.

“We re­ally wanted to do some­thing to keep his legacy, which is where the idea for a fundraiser came from.”

‘Jump for John’ will raise money for epilepsy foun­da­tions in­clud­ing WA Epilepsy.

Ms Ni Bhri­onn said there had been a lot of sup­port in the com­mu­nity, espe­cially from the South Fre­man­tle mar­kets.

“It was only meant to be a small thing but then so many peo­ple jumped on board,” she said.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son d480750

Aish­ling Ni Bhri­onn, Fiona Main and Rachel South­ern are do­ing their bit to sup­port WA Epilepsy.

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