Lothian mum wins parenting award

Ann Maxwell
Ann Maxwell
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A Midlothian mum who has dedicated her life to helping children with epilepsy has scooped first place in a national parenting award.

Ann Maxwell, of Waverley Road, Eskbank, has now won the Tesco Mum of the Year Award 2013 for her campaigning efforts on behalf of both her family and children with the illness.

The 50-year-old, who despite being diagnosed with a rare and incurable brain tumour in 2006, has “never relented” in her dedication to the cause which has resulted in the funding of the world’s first DNA testing service for children with complex epilepsy problems.

When her son Muir, now 15, had his first seizure at just four months old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome – leaving him with learning difficulties, behavioural problems and developmental delay.

Leaving her job to care for him, Ann soon realised there was a lack of funding and support for families in her situation and decided to dedicate her life to fundraising.

In 2003, she set up the Musselburgh-based Muir Maxwell Trust which is now one of the most significant children’s charities raising funds for paediatric epilepsy in the UK, raising over £7 million for charity. Its work includes supplying vital equipment to hospitals, campaigning for better treatment and raising awareness of epilepsy.

Speaking of her fundraising, the mum-of-three said: “I don’t feel sad about any of it. If I could wave a magic wand tomorrow and Muir could be a normal child, of course I would do that and I would give up all sorts of things to have that outcome.

“But in so many other ways he’s changed our lives – and the lives of those around him – for the better.”

The trust has just recently committed £1 million to building the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre for research at the University of Edinburgh.

It was her friend, Sheila Patel, who nominated her for the top award. She said: “Ann is a truly inspirational mum, and has devoted her life to helping children with epilepsy.”

Ann will now be treated to a full makeover and her own Tesco magazine photo shoot, before being presented with her award at London’s iconic hotel The Savoy on March 3.

Paul Morris, Tesco UK marketing customer communications director, said: “We have heard many truly incredible stories and it’s been a privilege to recognise these inspirational women.”