While many were trying to get through the boredom of lockdown, Support Dogs’ epilepsy seizure alert client Brogan Evans was determined to put herself through her toughest-ever challenge – while raising money for the charity that changed her life.

Brogan, aged 24, who has epilepsy, decided to take on a triathlon over the summer, with her seizure alert dog Wadsley by her side. Wadsley is trained and supported by Support Dogs to give Brogan a 100% reliable 48-minute advance warning of an oncoming seizure.

The pair climbed the height of Kilimanjaro by climbing the stairs over a two-week period, ran 5k every day for a month, and rowed the length of the river Mersey in two weeks.

And thanks to contributions from family and friends, Brogan raised more than £1,400 for Support Dogs. Brogan was especially proud that her fastest time for running 5K came despite having just had a seizure before-hand, thanks to the warning Wadsley gave her.

She says: “I didn’t want to fail this challenge or let any of our sponsors down. Whenever I had a down day and told myself I’m not strong enough, I thought back to that moment. Without a doubt it was the hardest physical and mental challenge I have ever faced.”

“But I didn’t miss a single day! I’d do my run or row and then go to rugby or circuit training in the evening, and it was as physically and mentally as demanding for Wadsley as it was for me.

 “It was mentally tedious, and on days where I wanted to do nothing other than sit on the sofa eating rubbish, I had to get up, show up and never give up! But it couldn’t be for a more important cause. Wadsley, my seizure alert dog trained by this amazing charity, has changed my life.”

Brogan, aged 24, who is married and lives in Birkenhead, qualified as a Support Dogs’ seizure alert partnership with Wadsley last year, and since then has managed to return to leading the active, independent lifestyle that she had had to give up after developing epilepsy at the age of 17.

Of lockdown she says: “Lockdown was a scary, uncertain time. Along with having epilepsy, I also am on the autistic spectrum, so having to be off work, on furlough, for almost seven months, caused a massive disruption to my daily routine.

“Having Wadsley and getting to leave the house each day for his walk brought some normality into my life and actually reduced my stress levels.

“With him I still had to get up each day at the same time, had to get out into the world and that prevented me from falling into a deep dark hole that I know a lot of people were victim of.

With the help of Wadsley I was able to not only complete this sponsored event but work on my own fitness, physical and mental wellbeing, and I even lost a stone!”

And thanks to her newfound enthusiasm for rigorous exercise, Brogan’s lockdown experience has had a positive outcome.

“In lockdown I found a new passion,” says Brogan. “And now me and my giant ginger loon are both enrolled to our local college to complete a level 3 personal trainer qualification.”