My Epileptic Friend: Dave Gothard

Looking at our first Facebook chat over three years ago, it’s clear to me now that Dave was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever known. Although he was eight years older than me, he never wanted to isolate me from his social life and was always so willing to meet up whenever I suggested it.

Today, I only wish I’d suggested it more because I can’t deny that it was always great to catch up with him, so we could share a few stories about what we’d both been doing. However, I’m sorry to say that Dave unexpectedly passed away last month from epilepsy-related causes.

Like me, Dave had epilepsy, but his condition seemed less controlled than mine. One thing that was similar between us both wasn’t that we were diagnosed around the same age, but that started it started to bother us both around the age of eighteen. That can only mean we both went through a similar journey in our late teens and early twenties, dealing with a complicated disability that confuses people when they’ve never had to think about it before.

I wasn’t Dave’s best friend, and can’t recall every one of his positive features in great depth. From what I heard at his funeral, friends and family understood his naming preference of ‘Dave’ rather than ‘David’, for which his response was set to a minimum. He was a fan of Laurel and Hardy, never afraid to express his laughter, and often amused his brother with personal antics as a child.

Dave and I must have met up less than a dozen times, and the first time round it was through a small meeting group set up by Epilepsy Action. But from the word go, positivity was proved, as he was willing to exchange a peaceful friendship between us both. One other thing that I loved was his Twitter Username – @davelovesmanc. Such a good choice! Just like me, he was a big fan of Manchester, as his picture took outside the Rovers Return should constantly help to confirm.

I also know Dave was a Christian and he attended St Mary’s Church, not far from where I live in Sale. For me, this is good to know – I’m not a Christian myself, but practice meditation regularly, holding a spiritual belief that general faith helps you move more positively through life. As well as that, I’m sure Dave will be at peace where he is now.

Although Dave’s disability sometimes stopped him from sustaining a full-time job, he still contributed his time to others and was a very caring man. He volunteered for charities and community interest companies such as The Message, Street Pastors and blueSCI, often exploiting his Christian beliefs for the benefit of others. He was in the Artful Voices choir, and not so long ago, volunteered at the British Heart Foundation in Sale.

Moving forward, I only hope myself and others can use our loving memory of Dave to push us into raising awareness of epilepsy much further. Development is being made to improve the lives of people with epilepsy, and as a keen supporter of Epilepsy Action, I’m sure this is what he would have wanted.

Dave Gothard: March 1981 – July 2017

Please click here to visit Dave’s JustGiving donation page for Epilepsy Action


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