A MOTHER is raising awareness about epilepsy and Sudden Unexpected Death from Epilepsy (SUDEP) as she marks the 10th anniversary of her daughter's death.

Samantha Ahearn's life was cut short at 19 after she fell downstairs during a seizure at her home in Dumers Lane, Radcliffe.

Her family, including her two younger siblings, described the "heartbreak" they are still experiencing over the loss of the "popular, hardworking" teenager who was "so loved."

Mum Lynn McGoff said: "The impact that Samantha's death has had on us, even 10 years on, is huge. Samantha was so special to me because she showed me how to be a mum. She made me proud from the minute she was born."

Samantha did not show any symptoms of epilepsy until December 2008, one month after her 19th birthday, when she had her first seizure.

Her family were left in "complete shock" when they received a call from Marks & Spencer in Bury, where Samantha worked part-time, to say that she had had a seizure and hurt her head after falling.

One week later, the Holy Cross College pupil was admitted to hospital after a repeat seizure.

Following her diagnosis, the family put measures in place to increase Samantha's safety. The diagnosis had a huge impact on day-to-day life; Samantha's driving licence had to be returned and she had to rely on public transport, and she could no longer take her sister Alice, who was 18 years younger, to the shops or swimming.

"I only experienced four of Samantha's seizures because they were rare", her mum said. "But at the same time, they were very scary, especially as they came without warning. Her last seizure was fatal and it will live with me forever."

Since her death on July 16, 2009, her family has committed to raising awareness of epilepsy-related issues and have also raised more than £45,000 for charity SUDEP Action.

Lynn, who now lives in Hutchinson Close, Radcliffe, said: "About one month after Sam's death, I read an article which provided a number for who to contact if you had been affected by a death in epilepsy.

"I called the number for Epilepsy Bereaved, now SUDEP Action. If it wasn't for that article, I wouldn't have got the support that I am still receiving today. That is why it is important for me and my family to raise as much awareness as possible.

"Without SUDEP Action, I know I wouldn't be here today. Their support has been above and beyond. The charity is supported through fundraising, which is why we have decided to do this in memory of Samantha, so that her life was not in vain."

To access support, or for more information about SUDEP Action, visit https://sudep.org/.