It is with extreme sadness the Epilepsy Foundation mourns the passing of Epilepsy Bay of Plenty Support Trust trustee, Robin Neels.
In the night of December 26 2013, Robin had a seizure from which he did not recover and sadly passed away. Aged 33, Robin was in the prime of his life and his infectious enthusiasm would have hugely enhanced the Epilepsy Bay of Plenty Support Trust working in support of those people living with epilepsy in the Bay region.
Robin is pictured here with Toni Bell, the Epilepsy Bay of Plenty chair person. Our deepest condolences go to the Neels family.
To read Robin’s family reflections please read on.
Thank you so much for your e-mail with the attached photo of Robin, It was inspiring to see how much of an impression he left within the Bay of Plenty Epilepsy Support Trust.
It breaks my heart, but four weeks ago on 26th December 2013 I lost my brother Robin Neels to an epileptic seizure while he slept, Robin had just turned 33 on the 10th December and had been living at Mount Maunganui.
Robin suffered his first epileptic seizure at 27 years of age, this concerned Rob and he became annoyed as to why this was happening to him so he began to seek answers, but nothing really held his seizures at bay and on average he was having an epileptic seizure around every 6 weeks. In the last 2 years while Rob lived at the Mount he was able to find support and understanding through the Bay of Plenty Epilepsy Support Trust.
From the age of 27-33 years old Rob had endured these seizures and while they would at times make him angry and frustrated he maintained a healthy and positive outlook on life.
On the 8th December 2013 Rob completed his first Triathlon (the Tinman). He had trained for 3 months previously and was really proud of his achievement when he crossed the finish line under the time he had set himself. Rob was very competitive and found enjoyment in constantly trying to better his own time he would go for training runs from his place of work around the Mount and back again continually trying to better himself.
Rob also enjoyed having a few beers with his mates and surfing every day of summer.
My brother was an inspiration to me and at 33 he had travelled the world, made great mates and had amazing life experiences, all the while suffering from his seizures. In the past 3 weeks since Rob’s death I have learnt more about him through talking to his friends and flat mates, I have listened to some great stories and happy memories, which has made me so overwhelmingly proud to have had him as my brother and I feel truly inspired by the way he lived his life.
Rob had a lust for life and magnetizing personality, which attracted many people from all walks of life to spend time with him over the years, he has left a big hole in my and my family’s hearts, not to mention the friends and flat mates that had shared time with him over the years.
Rob was always planning his next adventure, whether it would be travelling overseas, going on a surfing road trip or simply organizing his weekend, he never let his seizures stop him from achieving his goals in life and the world will truly be worse off without him in it.
He will be missed, R.I.P Rob, a loved son, brother, uncle, friend, flat mate, workmate.