Jónína Björg Guðmundsdóttir enjoying the Gala Dinner at the 27th International Epilepsy Congress, Singapore 2007, with her husband (centre) and Paul Sharkey (Brainwave the Irish Epilepsy Association)
It is with great sadness, and a deep sense of loss, that we bring you the news that one of IBEs enthusiastic supporters has passed away.
Jónína Björg Guðmundsdóttir was a member of LAUF, the IBE Full Member in Iceland, for many years. In that capacity she represented her association on the IBE European grouping, which evolved to become the European Regional Committee when the new IBE Constitution came into force at the end of 2004.
In 2005 she was elected a Member of the European Regional Executive Committee and served an active role on the committee in advancing its activities and objectives as it set up its plan of action for 2005-2009. Jónína also represented the Icelandic association on the Nordic Group, an informal gathering of lay epilepsy associations in the Nordic region, which meets for a full day each year to exchange experiences and to identify opportunities to work as a unit together.
Unfortunately, Jónína became ill before the International Epilepsy Congress in Paris in 2005 and was unable to attend. However she had made a good recovery and attended the 10th Epilepsy & Society Meeting in Copenhagen in 2006 – a meeting that is organised by the European Regional Committee.
Jónína was again with us last year in Singapore and our photo of Jónína, pictured with her husband (to her right) together with Paul Sharkey from Brainwave the Irish Epilepsy Association, shows her familiar happy smile. But her recovery was to be short-lived and by the end of the year Jónínas cancer had returned.
Sadly, on Friday 13th June, her brave battle ended.
Jónína was greatly admired and much respected by everyone she came in contact with in IBE; you always felt better having spoken with her. Her smile was infectious as was her deep commitment to improving the quality of life of people with epilepsy, not just close to home, in Iceland, but throughout Europe and further afield.
IBE would like to extend its sincere sympathy to Jónínas husband, her children and her grandchild on this very sad occasion.