Brandon inspires Liz’s storybook
PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 January 2013
AFTER reading stories to primary school children for 20 years, Worle mother Liz Ansell decided to tell a more personal tale, inspired by a friend’s child who deals with severe epilepsy.
Liz, aged 43, has had her variety of short children’s stories - entitled The Unforgettable Snow Lady - published, aiming to donate proceeds to a charity close to her heart.
The mother-of-two, of Newtons Road, was introduced to the Children’s Hospice South West, by friend Carol Swift whose son deals with a rare form of epilepsy which causes him to have seizures every day.
Liz said: “I have been storytelling in Weston for the past 20 years and after Carol told me about the hospice, I decided to volunteer.
“One of the staff members said it would be good to do a story about bereavement.
“I wrote the story and a song to go with it and then thought about putting a few stories together and making a book, where any money raised would go straight to the charity.”
Liz said inspiration also came from the hard work of the organisation, which she first encountered after a day visit with Carol.
Carol was able to reveal a different world to the Worle author, one which she deals with every day while caring for her 16-year-old son Brandon.
Brandon first developed epilepsy three months before his third birthday. His rare form of the condition means that it is uncontrollable, leading to restless nights and difficult times for both him and his parents.
Carol, of Earlham Grove in Weston, who also has a 13-year-old daughter, said: “Brandon seizures every day and every night.
“We do not know when they are coming and every night’s sleep is broken.
“Depending on the type of seizure it can take anything from 20 minutes up to an hour to get him calm. Sometimes it can even last a couple of hours.
“When this is happening I have to help him with his food and drink, it can be very debilitating.
“What we can do as a family is very limited.”
As well as her strong spirit and support from her husband and family, Carol said a great help has been given to them by the hospice’s Charlton Farm.
She said: “We get allocated a certain amount of nights of care which you can use throughout the year. We try to use them for weekends
“The responsibility is taken off you and words can’t explain how much it has helped.
“You do not like to admit you need help, but you need the rest or time with your other children.
“To have that good night’s sleep or a cup of tea without worrying who is looking after Brandon is what we need sometimes.”
When she heard Liz’s book would be raising money for the charity, Carol was overwhelmed. She said: “It really does touch my heart and it brought tears to my eyes.
“It made me feel very proud and I think it will also bring awareness to others.
“Until you’re in that situation you’re oblivious to what goes on in the hospice and how they help.”
The Unforgettable Snow Lady is a collection of short stories, songs and rhymes, for children aged three to seven which deal with the issues of bereavement, health, Mother’s Day and Christmas.
Liz, who worked at Oldmixon Primary School for 16 years, said: “I hope it will bring a bit of comfort to children and be memorable for them.”
The main story follows a plastic snowman that falls in love with a snow lady. As the lady gradually melts, she helps her new friend understand why. And even when the snow lady disappears, Liz incorporates a touching message at the end to give hope and support to the readers.
Liz said: “I cannot think of anything worse than your child being sick. But it’s wonderful to know there is someone there to look after you at the hospice.
“It’s a wonderful place and I wanted to highlight that.”
The Unforgettable Snow Lady is available from Amazon priced £14.99 or via www.authorhouse.co.uk
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.