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Name: Graham Wheatcroft
Age: 40
Conditions: Epilepsy
Wears: Link Bracelet; Dog Tag

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“Wearing my MedicAlert jewellery is part of my daily routine. I wear it all the time."


Graham Wheatcroft is happily married and busy juggling his duties as a father of two, a husband and a business owner. Passionate about health and about helping others to achieve functional fitness in their lives, he runs personal training sessions remotely from his home in West Yorkshire for clients all over the world through Resilient Lifestyle.

Like many people living with an invisible illness, you wouldn’t know it but Graham has epilepsy. We joined Graham to talk about his experiences. This is his story.

At what age and why were you diagnosed with epilepsy?

I was diagnosed with epilepsy around the age of seven. I was at a school disco as a kid and my mates and I had this crazy idea that it would be fun to have our mate hold us by our hands, swing us round fast, then at a certain point let go of our hands and we landed on our stomach to spin round on the floor...

...as I write this I think what a crazy thing that was to do, but oftentimes as a kid you don’t think of these things. The story continues: When it was my turn to be swung around, things didn’t go as planned. I landed on my head and then saw what I called “colours”. These colours were like when you put on an old TV on an AV channel and the screen went all fuzzy and black and white. Think of the scene in the 80’s film Poltergeist, when the screen went fuzzy before the creepy things appeared. So I saw these “colours” in the corner of my sight and it featured larger irregular coloured shapes that looked like they were almost moving. I had to cover my eyes with my arm and close my eyes to make them disappear.

As a result of this I had to see a specialist and the diagnosis I received was epilepsy. I faced a number of challenges as a kid, such as having to wear polarised sunglasses, eye patches whilst watching TV and getting into the routine of taking medication. I used Tegretol for a number of years before moving onto Epilim Chrono, which I still use today.

You’ve spoken passionately about how you only see the condition as a positive in your life. Was it always that way What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome to achieve this perspective?

On reflection, and in my adult life experiences, I have come to view my epilepsy as a “gift” in my life, but maybe not in the way you may think.

As far as I can remember back, there were not too many major challenges. My family was always very supportive. Obviously, when I had seizures they were not the best of experiences, but I learned to embrace my epilepsy and accept that it was a part of me.

I found that when I was in my late teens and wearing a MedicAlert bracelet, it was always a great conversation starter and a subtle way of letting people know about my condition without it seeming scary. The number of times I was asked: “Why are you wearing a second watch?”The conversation flowed from there, especially when I was dating!

What are the key challenges you face in your day-to-day life as a self-employed business owner?

I love being a business owner and leading a loyal group of clients.

The key challenges are managing my time to do everything that has to be done. My wife and I are a great partnership in life and business, so we support one another fully when the going gets tough. There are times when it seems like business is like a snowball. This is where having a morning routine to put myself in “power” across my body, mindset, family and business is a huge help and keeps me focused, ready to face the day.

Another challenge is finding the best way to reach out and finding innovative ways of utilising social media, so that people know the business exists. I really want to help as many people as possible move away from stress and anxiety, becoming more focused, confident and resilient by using time efficient fitness coaching.

Resilient Lifestyle has a very niche angle on health. Can you please expand on this? Why is this approach the one you feel to be most effective?

In this modern day culture everybody is so “busy”. This is something I encourage people to move away from and I want to have them consider becoming more focused and productive. This is achieved through time efficient fitness.

What is time efficient fitness coaching you may ask? The reality of it is this (it’s not just a concept): You can create the results that you want in as little as 2-3 hours per week using a set of dumbbells. It’s all about simplicity and personalising the experience to the client.

The result is that you will achieve the result that you want with your body, your mindset, the balance with your family and even move forward within your professional targets. How can this be possible you ask?...

...learning about consistent commitment and daily actions starts with your fitness and mindset. It must be done efficiently, strategically and simply.

I am certain this is the most effective method approach as I’ve had some incredible client results. Alan from the USA lost over eight stone, came through a quadruple heart bypass, completed an SAS style course and is now well on the way to beating diabetes, whilst creating his own business and looking after his family. His doctors have said his fitness training with myself has played a huge part in creating this result. He trains with me at a maximum of two hours per week to this day and his strength, endurance and levels of vitality continue to improve week on week.

As a business owner, do you have any advice or guidance for other people with epilepsy looking to start a business but perhaps don’t yet feel confident enough to do so?

Yes, don’t let it stop you. Epilepsy doesn’t change who you are inside. I’d have people consider how it is a positive in their life and how they can learn from their experience of epilepsy and leverage it within their business. For myself, it built my confidence and has become part of my story.

Have there been any moments in your professional career where your epilepsy has forced you to adapt in unexpected ways or given you a new perspective?

No, not at all. If anything it has made me more health conscious from a very young age and this has continued into my adult life. My awareness increased as to how to look after my body and mind so that I don’t trigger any seizures. My main trigger is too much alcohol and lack of sleep. Due to my profession, these are factors I am constantly aware of.

Prior to launching Resilient Lifestyle, did you ever feel that having epilepsy meant you were treated differently in the workplace? Either for the better or not? Did you ever worry that it might impact your opportunities?

Not at all. If anything, people have been kind over the years and just accepted that it is part of who I am. People have also shown interest in my MedicAlert jewellery - I’ve had bracelets and more recently the dog tags - and it’s sparked an opportunity for me to reassure people and explain what to do if I ever did have a seizure. In all cases I can remember everyone has been very supportive.

Is there an experience, as a MedicAlert member, that for you highlights the value of the service?

There are a couple actually...

Firstly I can remember when I was at university around 2002 and had had a heavy and late night out, I can’t honestly remember if I’d taken my medication or not. The following day I was in the courtyard area with my friends talking and the next I knew I was in an ambulance with paramedics. I later discovered that my language had gone all gobbledygook and I had experienced a grand mal seizure and nearly cracked my head on a concrete sculpture. Thankfully my friend caught me. Fortunately I had informed all my friends about my MedicAlert bracelet and they informed the paramedics.

Also, back in 2016 I had been helping relatives move a washing machine after yet another big night out. I started my drive home feeling OK and the next thing I knew I was in an ambulance with a paramedic and policeman. I had had a seizure whilst driving and had nearly gone through somebody’s front window at the top of a hill. My car had slowed down enough for this not to happen. I had been very lucky. With that though, the paramedic commented to me that he had identified my MedicAlert dog tag and all was in hand.

Let’s close out with a look to the future. What’s next for you and the business?

I am committed to helping people to move away from stress and anxiety to become focused, confident and resilient using time efficient fitness training.

I currently train clients remotely, so all they require is a tablet or smartphone and space to train. I want to be able to expand through this medium and reach more people. I have the capacity to train 100+ people at once so to achieve this would be amazing.

I also want to continue to work with clients on a 121 basis remotely and help them to achieve their targets and understand how to do this without wasting hours at the gym and without crazy fad diets. My clients typically train for two hours per week and no more.

Within the process I want to continue to improve people’s health and wellbeing, moving them away from the stresses and anxieties of life to become something better, starting with their fitness.

On a lighter note I also want to work with bearded gents that struggle with their health and fitness.

Helping those with epilepsy would also be fantastic as this is something I can relate to personally.


“My ID not only provides peace of mind for me, but helps remove the stress a good samaritan might feel should they need to step in and help." 

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