Epilepsy sufferer says 'let's talk about it'

A skater for most of his life, Darcy Craig has never suffered an epilepsy seizure on his board.
MATTHEW CATTIN/FAIRFAX NZ

A skater for most of his life, Darcy Craig has never suffered an epilepsy seizure on his board.

At 14, Darcy Craig was diagnosed with a brain tumour and told he had 10 years to live.

At 24, he wrote out his will - his biggest concern being who would inherit his beloved hip hop collection.

Now 30, Darcy is "stunned to still be alive", and takes each year as a gift.

His tumour hasn't grown in six years, but the epilepsy brought on by the tumour is an ongoing challenge.

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Suffering daily seizures, Darcy is unable to work or drive, and spends most of his time in his Auckland home. He describes his seizures as blackouts, wherein his consciousness disappears, and his body continues, like sleepwalking.

Lasting anywhere between 10 and 45 minutes, Darcy says his seizures have caused him to crash his car and give up driving, scull household poisons and wake up in dangerous places.

It's a tough road, and Darcy says how people treat him can make the world of difference.

Having being teased and ignored for his condition, Darcy says it's the people who "go the extra mile to help" that blow him away.

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"A lot of people go out of their way, and I don't think I'd be here without them," he says.

Despite his struggles, Darcy has a positive outlook on life, saying "when you're happy, it draws in people around you".

"I smile and treat every day as my last day. I dance down the streets." 

He also hopes to find work he can manage safely. "I'd love to work again, so long as it's safe. Just something to get me out of home."

November marks the beginning of the Talk About It! global campaign for awareness around epilepsy, which affects one in 100 Kiwis. Darcy says it's important not to be shy to tell somebody you have a disability, as you're more likely to get help if you need it.

"Somebody that may look absolutely normal may have epilepsy and you wouldn't know it. We're not asking for an arm or a leg, just a little little bit of help. We're all in the same boat," he says.

Visit epilepsy.org.nz for more.

 - Rodney Times

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