It was a long journey from London to Perth, Australia, but a fantastic one and well worth it! Last week (which of course is part of Epilepsy Month!) I met with the wonderful Emma Buitendag (CEO) from Epilepsy WA (Western Australia). It was just wonderful to meet them both in person and learn all about what they achieve for those affected by epilepsy in WA.
Just as in the UK, those suffering from epilepsy in Western Australia are suffering from discrimination – at work, in the public and in their private lives.
Slowly but surely and with strength, celebrities in Western Australia are also starting to “come out” regarding their epilepsy and help reduce the ridiculous stigma.
WA is the largest and second most sparsely populated state in Australia; meaning that one of the most obvious challenges held by the charity is for them to help those affected by epilepsy all over the state.
To put things in perspective, let’s compare the size of WA to the UK:
WA: 2.5 MILLION square km
UK: 242.5 THOUSAND square km
Over the next year, Epilepsy WA are setting up several more support groups; spread across the state. This way they will be able to support many more people, much more effectively. The support groups are for anybody affected by epilepsy, including the patient with the diagnosis, their family members, friends, employers; pretty much anybody affected directly or indirectly by the condition. During the meetings, they will be able to share their experiences and receive up to date and useful information. There will be tips re coping with the condition both personally and professionally.
When people are seeking medical advice, Epilepsy WA has a close professional affiliation with the Neurological Council of WA (NCWA) to whom they refer members.
One of Epilepsy WA’s promises is that they are “are committed to providing support to improve the quality of life of people with epilepsy and increase community awareness of the condition” and this is truly happening. This is what we need.
All of the work that Epilepsy WA has done (since 1963!) and continues to do is only possible through member, public, government, and corporate support and it’s wonderful to hear how these people/bodies are making all of the work possible.
There’s going to be the Purple Walk 4 Epilepsy WA on the 25th March 2018 (hmmm is that an excuse for me to visit Perth again…?!) which will raise awareness and funding for the charity. If you’re in WA, join in! I’m pretty sure the sun will be shining! You’ll also see that I’ve worn the hat (see one of the above photos!) and have one of the cool purple, woolly sheep!
I, of course, mentioned Epilepsy WA in during my slot at Noongar Radio Strong Minds Talk Back on 100.9fm on Thursday as the whole 2 hrs was about epilepsy (a blog about that is to come soon). Epilepsy affects those of every ethnicity, including of course the Australian Indigenous population and so we must just keep talking about it – factually!
I must say that meeting Emma was a pleasure. To know that the leaders in such an essential, impactful charity are genuine, friendly and have a sense of humour is a gold star in my book.
If you or your company would like to sponsor a wonderful charity such as Epilepsy WA, contact them on:
Tel: 08 6457 7699
If anyone would like to support/set up a support group/get involved with Epilepsy WA, contact them directly!
Tel: 08 6457 7699
If you fancy giving a cool pressie (or receiving…and hinting to whoever), check out:
Yearly Entertainment Book/Entertainment Digital Membership which also provides support to Epilepsy WA
Epilepsy Sparks CEO - featured on BBC, HuffPost, Sky News & More.
Does your company require an inspiring speech or some consultancy on epilepsy, mental health, and diversity & inclusion? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org