Earlier this year Sky Atlantic broadcast the documentary ‘This Is Our Family’ which took three years to film and followed four families dealing with the different challenges life throws at them.
One of those families was the Hoyles and we’ve been fortunate to have parents Mary-Jane and David as Cerebra Ambassadors for many years.
Our journey with them began soon after eldest daughter, Annie-May was diagnosed with a very complex form of epilepsy, although her primary condition is still undiagnosed.
At just 18-months-old, a brain scan revealed Annie-May had slight brain damage, which was devastating news for Mary-Jane and David, leaving them feeling isolated.
‘When we first found out Annie had brain damage it took us to a very dark place and I felt like I was on my own,’ reflects Mary-Jane.
Numerous hospital visits followed but it wasn’t until Annie-May was five that she was diagnosed with mild epilepsy. Two years later, however, Annie-May had a fit following a brain scan and the extent of her condition would clearly show her epilepsy was not a mild form.
As Annie-May’s condition worsened, seizures and further hospital visits became a regular occurrence. Each time was incredibly distressing for Mary-Jane and David but also for youngest daughter, Lily. Footage during one of her sister’s seizures features in the documentary and really captures the emotion of what was happening around her.
The documentary shows us many challenging moments but also the joy and togetherness of family life.
‘Yes it is difficult at times if you have got a child with a disability, but I want people to know your life is not over. It’s just a different life. It has different positives and different sadness in it’. Mary Jane
From initially feeling isolated, Mary-Jane and David soon realised they were not alone and it spurred them on to face the challenges that lay ahead. Each seizure has been heartbreaking for them to witness and different tests and procedures have tried to make them less frequent. Now 16-years-old, Annie-May’s current medication has made a real positive breakthrough and we’re all hopeful this can continue.
‘This Is Our Family’ is in four episodes and episode 2 takes us into the daily lives of the Hoyles. It’s a raw and honest account of what life is really like caring for a child with disability and it’s still available for you to watch.
You can visit Sky to watch or download the episode on your computer or you can search for it on your Sky box. You can also watch through NOW TV.
It’s been a real pleasure to work with and get to know the whole family over the years and we look forward to catching up with them again soon.