A member of Solihull School’s catering team has won a charity award after helping to improve the life of a young pupil who was suffering up to 30 epileptic seizures every day.
Enaya Hoque, a year 3 pupil who joined the school in September, has had childhood absence epilepsy since she was five years old, suffering seizures which left her incoherent for up to 10 seconds each time.
She was put on medication which had severe side-effects, including hair loss, so her family began researching alternative therapies and came across the ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet which has been used to control seizures in some people with epilepsy since the 1920s.
Doctors usually recommend the ketogenic diet for children whose seizures have not responded to different medicines, but in Enaya’s case they were happy for her to stop taking medication and start the diet due to the side effects she was suffering.
Sticking rigidly to the strict diet, and with no medication, Enaya has been seizure-free for more than 170 days. So successful has the diet been for the pupil, she has appeared on the BBC’s Food: Truth or Scare programme and is also due to appear on The One Show.
When Enaya joined Solihull School, assistant catering manager Yvonne Pearce had a meeting with the pupil’s parents and the school nurse to assess her needs. As a result, Yvonne created a bespoke menu, based on the school’s existing menu but adapted for Enaya’s ketogenic diet.
Enaya’s mum Aneesa nominated Yvonne for a Matthew’s Friends Keto-Star award to thank her and to show her how much her efforts were appreciated.
Aneesa said: “We are so grateful to Mrs Pearce. It’s the little things that make all the difference for Enaya. For her to be able to simply go and have lunch with her schoolmates has made her life at school so much easier and so much better.”
The star awards are for people who have gone that extra mile to support someone on prescribed ketogenic dietary therapy.