18th – February 2013: European Epilepsy Day was celebrated in the European Parliament through a series of events organised by the IBE/ILAE Joint Task Force – Epilepsy Advocacy Europe. Representing the Task Force in Brussels were Mike Glynn, Emilio Perucca, Janet Mifsud and Ann Little.
Stand Up For Epilepsy Photography
Throughout the week, an exhibition of 45 images from the Stand Up For Epilepsy Photography project was mounted in a prominent position in the parliament. The images, from countries all over the world, feature famous international and Olympic sports people, including Usain Bolt, photographed with people with epilepsy – some of whom are sports people in their own right.
Prevalence and Costs of Epilepsy
On Tuesday afternoon, an important workshop on Prevalence and Costs of Epilepsy was hosted by Gay Mitchell, MEP, with speakers Torbjörn Tomson (Sweden) and Christine Linehan (Ireland). The workshop highlighted the wide variance in past surveys on epilepsy prevalence and the need for pan European research to establish accurate figures so that the true cost of epilepsy can be determined.
Gay Mitchell also hosted an evening reception for the official launch of the Stand Up for Epilepsy exhibition, which featured a gymnastic display by a young Hungarian girl, 12-year old Veronika Mitykó. Veronika has childhood epilepsy and, despite the fact that her epilepsy is fully controlled and, despite the fact that her medical consultant has certified that she is fit to perform, she has been denied the right to complete (and to practice her sport) in Hungary. We hope that Veronika’s presence in Brussels will help to end this unfairness.
More than 100 people attended the event, including 20 MEPs and a large number of assistants. The MEPs included Gay Mitchell MEP (Ireland), Sean Kelly MEP (Ireland), Mairead McGuinness MEP (Ireland), Jim Higgins MEP (Ireland), Pat The Cope Gallagher MEP (Ireland), Liam Aylward MEP (Ireland), Emer Costello MEP (Ireland), Diane Dodds MEP (Northern Ireland), Fiona Hall MEP (UK), Filip Kaczmarek MEP (Poland), Nathalie Griesbeck MEP (France), Anna Zaborska MEP (Slovakia), Angelika Werthmann MEP (Austria), Patrizia Toia MEP (Italy), Alf Svensson MEP (Sweden), Tamás Deutsch MEP (Hungary) amongst others. You can watch a short video of the event here:
In addition, a number of private meetings took place with MEPs over the two days including Elisabetta Gardini MEP (Italy), Giancarlo Scottà MEP (Italy), Nessa Childers MEP (Ireland), Marian Harkin MEP (Ireland), Filip Kaczmarek MEP (Poland), Liam Aylward MEP (Ireland) and Vicky Ford MEP (UK). Representatives of the Joint Task Force also had a meeting with Dr Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy.