Raising awareness Our blog Encephalitis Society highlights from 2019 As we approach the end of 2019, we wanted to take a look back at what has been an amazing 25th anniversary year for the Encephalitis Society. From World Encephalitis Day and Encephalitis Research Month, through to a new Neurology Training Program in Zambia, welcoming new volunteers and a campaign to raise awareness of travel health ahead of the Rugby World Cup, it has been a busy year for everyone at the Society. Thank you for all your support over the past 12 months and we wish you all the best for the holidays and the New Year. We look forward to seeing you again in 2020 when we will begin working towards World Encephalitis Day on the 22nd February. Here are our highlights from 2019 as chosen by the team at the Encephalitis Society. 1. Winning the Lottery The Encephalitis Society was awarded £147,500 from The National Lottery Community Fund for our Life After Encephalitis project. The three year project has helped us to fund a new staff member for our support service and improve our award-winning digital elements of our work. 2. CEO Book Deal Dr Ava Easton, our lovely CEO, was commissioned to write a follow-up to her book, Life After Encephalitis. She is well underway with research for the book which will focus on recovery and rehabilitation following encephalitis. 3. World Encephalitis Day We reached nearly 50 million people in 189 countries during World Encephalitis Day on 22nd February, 2019. We toured London in a Big Red Bus (one of 20 global gatherings) and saw 1,089 people download our BrainWalk smartphone App, walking 222 million steps! Across social media, there was a sea of red with countless people talking about encephalitis and going #Red4WED. This was our sixth year and it is amazing to see how far we have come in such a short time - and all thanks to you! Click on the image to see more photographs 4. The (new) professionals In 2019, we welcomed some new health professionals to our Scientific Advisory Panel. Dr Jessica Fish, a clinical psychologist Dr Tom Pollak, a neuropsychiatrist Dr Omar Siddiqi, a neurologist Dr Lance Turtle, a consultant in infectious diseases 5. Neurology Training Program in Zambia We were delighted to support a project to produce the first ever home-grown neurologists in Zambia. The country, which has a population of 16 million people, has never had its own neurologists. That is about to change because of the vision of Dr Omar Siddiqi, among others. The trainees have recently finished the first year of their training. The neurology trainees 6. My Brain and Medicine 2019 Book tickets for My Brain and Medicine 2020 in London on 27th April 7. Seed Funding As part of our 25th anniversary celebrations, we launched Encephalitis Futures, our international Research Seed Funding project. We invited applications from researchers to encourage innovative research projects into encephalitis. In total, we received 11 applications from six countries. The winners were from Brazil and Cameroon. 8. Happy birthday to us! 9. It's been an honour The Encephalitis Society had a lot to celebrate in 2019! At the Third Sector Awards, World Encephalitis Day won Communications Campaign of the Year and Rebecca Adlington was highly commended for her work as our Ambassador. Dr Ava Easton, our CEO, was presented with a Social CEO of the Year award and an Inspiring Communicator Award at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Assoc Professor Sarosh Irani, a member of our Scientific Advisory Panel, was awarded the 2019 Graham Bull Prize in Clinical Science and Professor Tom Solomon, the President of the Encephalitis Society, was elected to the Royal College of Physicians council. The Encephalitis Society at the Third Sector Awards 10. Petition On the 22nd of July, we asked for your support with a petition calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to make World Encephalitis Day one of their global health days and to meet with leading figures from the Encephalitis Society. We had no idea how many signatures to expect - so imagine how thrilled we were to have the support of over 27,000 people! We will now be presenting the petition to the WHO in the days leading up to World Encephalitis Day. Thank you! 11. TRY-ing to talk about travel health The Encephalitis Society took to the airwaves in the weeks before the Rugby World Cup in Japan to talk about travel health. We wanted rugby fans - and the general public - to seek advice from travel health professionals before travelling to the country and consider vaccinations for diseases, such as Japanese encephalitis. 12 Volunteers Laura, our new volunteer coordinator, began the hunt for supporters to become a member of Team Encephalitis. She has recruited a few supporters already and will be looking for more in the future for anyone who is interested. 13. Clair's Story We are very grateful to Clair and her family for agreeing to be part of something new at the Encephalitis Society - a specially made awareness film. If you haven't seen it, please watch it. This has done so much to raise awareness of encephalitis. 14. Welcome to Alecia Towards the end of 2019, we welcomed a new ambassador, Alecia Emerson-Thomas. Welcome Alecia! 15. My Brain: My Story In October, the Encephalitis Society visited Liverpool for our second annual My Brain: My Story event. More than 100 people joined us at the day which has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. It was a day where members could meet one another and build lasting friendships as well as pick up awards for their fundraising efforts. 16. Encephalitis Conference The Encephalitis Conference 2019 welcomed around 190 health professionals from 27 different countries to the Royal College of Physicians in December. This was an amazing day - definitely our most successful conference yet - where researchers share their work, network and build up relationships which will only benefit encephalitis research in the future. 17. All change at the top There were some changes at the top of the Encephalitis Society, including a new President Emeritus (Professor Barbara Wilson) and President (Professor Tom Solomon), a new Chair (Dr Nick Davies) and Vice Chair (Dr Benedict Michael) of our Scientific Advisory Panel. 18. Communications Finally, the life of a comms person has its challenges. Spelling misteaks for one. This was supposed to be a simple video to promote the office's Three Peaks Challenge featuring Phillippa, Pam and Julie. Turn to camera, say a few simple lines - et voila! - we have a video. What could possibly go wrong? Happy New Year!