Some of the many MEPs who attended the launch of Epilepsy Without Words pictured with Mike Glynn and Emilio Perucca
EED 2012 – The Burden of Epilepsy
Following the successful launch of the 1st European Epilepsy Day in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg last year, the Advocates for Epilepsy special interest group of MEPs again played a major role in celebrating the 2nd European Epilepsy Day on the 13th and 14th February. Hosted by Gay Mitchell MEP, the main celebration was an exhibition of the Epilepsy Without Words photography exhibition, which was officially opened by former EU President Jerzy Buzek at a special reception attended by a large number of MEPs, assistants and other EU staff in the parliament.
Introducing Mr Buzek, Mr Mitchell drew attention to the quote of former IBE Executive Committee member, Dr Rajendra Kale, that epilepsy can be summarised as 4,000 years of ignorance, superstition and stigma followed by 100 years of knowledge, superstition and stigma.
Picking up on this theme, Mr Buzek stated that the situation where people with epilepsy are still subject to stigma and superstition is totally unacceptable in 2012. He also brought attention to the fact that the date for European Epilepsy Day was chosen to coincide with Valentines Day St Valentine being the patron of epilepsy and asked people to member the date not just as a day when love is celebrated but also as European Epilepsy Day.
The co-chairs of Epilepsy Advocacy Europe Mike Glynn and Emilio Perucca also spoke at the event. They thanked the 459 MEPs who had signed the Written Declaration in 2011 and the members of the Advocates for Epilepsy special interest group for their continued support at European level.
Eleven private meetings with MEPs had also been arranged, at which the situation for people with epilepsy, as well as issues of national concern, were raised. The MEPs who met privately with Mike Glynn and Emilio Perucca were:
- Nathalie GRIESBECK, France
- Marina YANNAKOUDAKIS, UK
- Giancarlo SCOTTA, Italy
- Anna ZABORSKA, Slovakia
- Andras GYURK, Hungary
- Wim VAN DE CAMP, Netherlands
- Oreste ROSSI, Italy
- Pavel POC, Czech Republic
- Milan CABRNOCH, Czech Republic
- Theodoros SKYLAKAKIS, Greece
- Filip KACZMAREK, Poland
The International Bureau for Epilepsy would like to thank MEP Gay Mitchell for hosting European Epilepsy Day in the European Parliament. We would also like to thank his wife Norma and his assistant Gráinne Delaney, for their help in Strasbourg on the day.
To see more images from European Epilepsy Day in Strasbourg CLICK HERE
Celebrating European Epilepsy Day in Europe
On the 13th and 14th February, the 2nd European Epilepsy Day was celebrated across Europe by epilepsy associations and support groups, epilepsy centres and hospitals, and by people with epilepsy, their families and carers.
Since the event was first launched in 2011, as an initiative highlighting issues related to epilepsy across the continent, European Epilepsy Day has gained significant momentum. Activities being organised in association with the day have increased at a remarkable rate, such that European Epilepsy Day now promises to be a very important annual opportunity for concerted efforts in increasing awareness and promoting knowledge on epilepsy in every corner of Europe.
From Ireland, on the western edge of the continent, to Finland on the northern extremity, across to Russia and in new states such as Georgia and Lithuania, as far south as Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Malta, and throughout Central Europe, public events have drawn attention to the Burden of Epilepsy the theme for European Epilepsy Day EED2012.
Many associations issued Press Releases which were very successful in achieving print and broadcast space, alerting the media both to EED 2012 and to the situation at national level for people with epilepsy. In a very visible manner, epilepsy associations created public events such as street demonstrations to draw attention to the day. In Finland, stones were used in a very novel way to symbolise the burden of epilepsy. Epilepsy organisations also used their websites to great effect in promoting the day.