A Leamington man is raising awareness in support of the first-ever World Encephalitis Day tomorrow (Saturday) after he was diagnosed with the brain condition 11 years ago.
James Pratt, 35, believes that his story may help others to recognise the symptoms of the condition and act early, preventing them from being left with a permanent brain injury.
When he was 24, Mr Pratt fell seriously ill with symptoms including hallucinations and a high temperature and after he suffered two falls and a violent seizure he was at first told he had epilepsy.
But after his condition deteriorated further his mother, a trained nurse, took him to an out of hours GP which lead to him having a lumbar puncture to his spine to diagnose the condition.
Mr Pratt said: “I have been to some incredibly dark places. Even though the virus has been cleared I am still affected by my experience and often suffer with bouts of depression, memory and cognitive problems which have a huge impact on my daily life.”
Now in a relationship and a father Mr Pratt is aiming to raise more than £10,000 for The Encephalitis Society, which he is well on the way to achieving.
The Society wants to encourage the wider use of the Liverpool Algorithm protocol which reduces delays in diagnosis and treatment as experienced by Mr Pratt.
Matt Cassell, who is leading the World Encephalitis Day campaign, said: “For many people, the first time they hear of Encephalitis is in a hospital waiting room, or at the bed side of a loved one. With World Encephalitis Day we hope to change that. We’re raising awareness on a global scale in order to share life-saving information. We want tomorrow to be the first time that people hear of Encephalitis instead of when a loved one is fighting for their life.”