Mom shares heartbreaking birthday letter penned by epileptic teen daughter who died a day after
Tanya Russell's daughter died just one day after her 44th birthday. Now, close to a year-and-a-half later, she has shared a letter the teen wrote for her birthday
A mother has shared the heartbreaking letter given to her before her 44th birthday by her 17-year-old daughter before she tragically passed away in her sleep after suffering an epileptic fit a day after the big day.
According to The Sun, 17-year-old Johdi Russell, of Cheddar, Somerset, suffered a fit in 2016 and had to be taken to an emergency doctor for treatment. Subsequent MRI scans and EEG tests confirmed the teen suffered from epilepsy, a condition that affects 1 in 100 in the UK. She was prescribed medication and would go weeks, and sometimes months, without fits, though bad luck would strike on October 5, 2017.
After celebrating her mother's birthday on October 4, Johdi suffered a seizure and skipped college to stay at home the next day. Her mother, Tanya, and father, Mark, stayed at home as well to take care of the teen. But when Tanya checked on her at noon, she found her daughter slumped over and motionless in her bed.
She immediately called for emergency services, with paramedics arriving soon after, and a doctor then making his way to their residence via helicopter, in an effort to save the teen. However, despite working on her for two hours, they were unable to save her.
Speaking about the day, Tanya said she and Mark had initially planned to go to Marbella for her birthday but had canceled their flight a few weeks prior because of a sense of "foreboding" she felt. "I can’t explain it. I knew I couldn’t leave them. If I had gone, she would have died when I was away," she wrote.
But she did have something to remember her daughter fondly by: a letter which she said was the "most precious" thing she owned. In the letter, Johdi wished her mother a happy 44th birthday and thanks her for being there for her, writing, "I couldn't have got through this year without you mom."
"You’re the most supportive, caring, loving and understanding mumma ever. You make me feel so happy and supported and safe when I’m with you. I always know no matter what you will try your best to help me out...," she also wrote.
"I couldn’t have got through this year without you, Mum. I couldn’t have got anywhere without you actually – you are just amazing, and an incredible mum to us...," she continued, ending with "always stay incredible and crazy!! I love you to infinity and beyond."
A post-mortem of the 19-year-old revealed she had died from sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP), which affects just 1 in every 1,000 people with epilepsy. Tanya said she now wanted to raise more awareness about the condition. "It’s my mission to raise awareness of SUDEP. I don’t want to scare anyone with epilepsy but I want people made aware this can happen. I hope one day there will be a cure," she wrote.