European Epilepsy Day, an initiative of the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) supported by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) will launch on 14 February, to coincide with Valentines Day; Valentine being the patron of epilepsy.
To mark the occasion, a Lunch Discussion is organised on Tuesday 15 February in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, hosted by Gay Mitchell MEP and supported by the EEP Group in the European Parliament. Representatives from 26 IBE member associations in 20 European countries will be present together with invited MEPs. IBE President Mike Glynn and ILAE President Nico Moshé are also attending and the WHO is also represented.
Also taking place in Strasbourg on the 15th February, is the official launch of an exhibition titled The Many Faces of Epilepsy. The exhibition, which will run from 14 to 17 February, is being launched by EU Vice President Mr Edward McMillan Scott.
European Epilepsy Day also provides the platform for the launch of the European Advocates for Epilepsy Working Group, which will be co-chaired by Gay Mitchell MEP. The aim of the working group is to improve the quality of life of all people with epilepsy, their families, care-givers and healthcare providers through European Union policy and by providing a network for the exchange of experience, information and data on epilepsy between all interested stakeholders.
Speaking before the event, IBE President Mike Glynn said: Epilepsy is more than a medical diagnosis. It brings with it serious social, economical, physical and psychological consequences. In launching European Epilepsy Day we plan to bring about real change for the 6 million people living with epilepsy in Europe.
ILAE President Prof Nico Moshé stated: It is important to highlight that epilepsy can be a potentially devastating disorder that can kill.
David Josephs, father of an 11 year old boy who has numerous seizures every week of his life, who is one of the speakers at the lunch discussion event, said: Epilepsy requires specialist medical attention and support, and politicians must do all they can to increase that level of specialist support, even in challenging financial times.
Another speaker, German lawyer Hanna Mathes, says: epilepsy is just as diverse as life itself. Having epilepsy has not hindered her determination to live a full and interesting life, as well as having a rewarding career.
Gay Mitchell MEP who is hosting the event, commented: By organising to highlight the issue, we hope to bring about an extension of services and support. 70% of those with epilepsy can be assisted to be seizure free but only 40% receive appropriate treatment; this is wholly unacceptable.
Dr Philippe Cupers, Head of Sector Neurosciences, European Commission DG Research and Innovation , who will also speak at the launch has said: The Innovation Union flagship initiative couples research to innovation. It proposes measures to bring the brightest ideas faster to the market, and therefore new drugs faster to the patients. In this context, EU supports collaborative pre-clinical and clinical research on epilepsy, providing opportunities to make discoveries that can benefit human health.
In a message to IBE and ILAE, EU President Jerzy Buzek wrote: I am well aware that epilepsy is a serious health disorder, which affects millions of people in Europe. Therefore I fully support your initiative.
Click here to download Press Release: Lunch Discussion at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Click here to download Press Release: The Many Faces of Epilepsy Exhibition.
Click here to download Agenda: Lunch Discussion at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Click here to download Agenda: The Many Faces of Epilepsy Exhibition
Click here to read the message from IBE President Mike Glynn explaining the background and plans for European Epilepsy Day.