Neill Lowdon is an artist from Cornwall who has recently sold 35 of his paintings to raise money for us. Here, he talks about leaving a legacy to Epilepsy Society in his will.
I've had epilepsy since I was born, as my brain was damaged during birth. It's had a big impact on my life. I have tried different medications for many years and I have taken around 106,000 tablets to try and help deal with my epilepsy. Unfortunately, the medication hasn't really worked and my consultant thinks I have drug-resistant epilepsy.
I had a Vagus Nerve Stimulator fitted that destroyed my voice for several months. I was desperately trying to communicate and it was very frustrating.
Impact of epilepsy
I have seen two examples of epilepsy and what it can do to you on my local news. One girl died of epilepsy at school when she had a seizure. This bothered me a lot and made me emotional.
Another time, I saw a reporter approach someone on the street and ask her about epilepsy. She had epilepsy and was bitter about her condition. Watching these two examples inspired me to sell my paintings and donate the proceeds to Epilepsy Society. I want my paintings to be on walls and to make a lasting impression.
I've been painting since I attended Falmouth School of Art 40 years ago. I've also cycled over 100,000 miles to get to places where I like to paint.
I largely paint landscapes, but I can paint a bit of everything, including still life and portraits. I mainly paint Cornish landscapes near where I live with pastels, oils and watercolours.
My exhibition was held in March in my local town. There were a number of people outside the doors before it opened who wished to donate to the cause. A lot of the people there were grandparents, desperate to help their grandchildren who had epilepsy.
Thirty-five of my paintings were sold spanning over 25 years of work. The exhibition raised £1,500 for Epilepsy Society.
Leaving a legacy
Now I've decided to leave a legacy to Epilepsy Society in my will, as I want to give something back. It wasn't until I had my exhibition that it dawned on me how much things like fundraisers mattered to people with epilepsy. I also didn't realise that so many people had epilepsy.
I have asked for my donation to be put towards their ground-breaking research. I would also like to donate my brain at the end of my life to Epilepsy Society's Brain and Tissue Bank at UCL, so it can be used for vital research.
I think it's important to leave a legacy, particularly to epilepsy charities, as epilepsy is the thing that has affected so many different things in my life. It's so important for charities such as the Epilepsy Society to continue their research into determining the causes and treatments of epilepsy.
I recommend others to leave a legacy in their wills to give something back to a cause they care about, as you can never quite tell where life is going to go.
I would like to do another exhibition of my paintings in a few years to donate more money to Epilepsy Society, as there is more room for success.
If you are considering leaving a legacy to Epilepsy Society, we always recommend you take legal advice. You can look at our information here or call us on 01494 601305 for a confidential discussion.
With your help, we can continue to make a real and lasting contribution to the lives of people with epilepsy.
Request your free guide
A 1% gift helps us drive progress, enable support, increase impact and invest in the future.
To talk about concerns around epilepsy please call the Epilepsy Society helpline on 01494 601 400.
Epilepsy is not just one condition, but a group of many different 'epilepsies' with one thing in common: a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.
Did you know that the Greek philosopher Hippocrates (460-377 BC) was the first person to think that epilepsy starts in the brain? Find out more interesting facts and debunked myths around epilepsy and seizures.
There are many different types of epileptic seizure. Any of us could potentially have a single epileptic seizure at some point in our lives. This is not the same as having epilepsy, which is a tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.