We are still on a high after returning from our annual trip to the Royal Society of Medicine for My Brain and Medicine on Monday (April 30).

More than 130 people joined us in London - making it our most successful RSM event yet - to listen to talks by professionals working in the field of encephalitis and from people who have been directly affected by encephalitis.

Speakers included Dr Chris Duncan, University of Newcastle; Dr Sophia Michael, University of Oxford; Dr Emily Talbot, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Jessica Fish, Oliver Zangwill Centre; and Marguarita Tyne, Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Clarke Willmott solicitors.

Patient perspectives came from Trish Rake and Paul Wicks.

Phillippa Chapman, Director of Operations at the Encephalitis Society, said:

We have had a lot of feedback - from the Encephalitis Society team, attendees and speakers - who said that My Brain and Medicine was a great success. Everyone was really engaged with the speakers and enjoyed the opportunity to talk afterwards and make some new friendships. It wonderful to see so many new faces, something which we hope will continue at our events in the future. And of course, the biggest applause of the day was reserved for our award winners who thoroughly deserved recognition for their efforts in going the extra mile to care for families who have been affected by encephalitis.

Trish Rake, who spoke about how her son Max fell ill with encephalitis and the impact it had on him and her family, added: 

It was an honour to give the talk and although I had  butterflies, I actually really enjoyed the experience myself. I met some truly wonderful people and if Max's story helped just one person then I am humbled

 My Brain and Medicine - Royal Society of Medicine 2018

Images from the Royal Society of Medicine

Exceptional Service Awards - the winners

Great Bradfords Junior School, Essex

“I would like to nominate the school - especially headteacher Fiona Dorey and her special educational needs coordinator Mrs Taylor - for going above and beyond for my son Ethan when he returned to school after encephalitis. They timetabled his gradual return to school and understood his needs emotionally, mentally and educationally even when I couldnt understand them myself.” (nominated by Julie Hunnable-Turner)

St Joseph’s School team, Durham City

“From the leadership team to every member of support staff, St Joseph’s School has provided fantastic support to us for the last six years. My daughter has complex needs and can be very challenging. They ensure she’s included in all activities and provide opportunities to build on my daughter’s strengths. The team genuinely care, see my daughter as an individual and part of the school family.” (nominated by Lorraine Board)

Mrs Allen, Hart Memorial Primary School, Portadown

Mrs Allen has been our son’s one-to-one support teacher since nursery school and has built a really supportive and understanding relationship with him. Her support has kept Ellis in main stream education and will stay supporting him until he leaves primary school. She goes above and beyond to meet his needs.” (nominated by Leanne McGaffin) 

Paul Broadway (Paramedic - London Ambulance Service NHS Trust)

Paul was one of three paramedics who arrived when Trish and Alex’s son, Max, became critically ill. As well as caring for Max, Paul later saw Trish’s fundraising appeals for her charity 10k run and turned out to cheer on the family. He also joined the family’s BrainWalk team for World Encephalitis Day, encouraging his colleagues to do the same. “Paul has simply gone over and beyond the call of duty a million times over. Max wants me to tell the world that Paul and his colleagues are his real-life superheroes.” (nominated by Trish Rake and family)

Sarah McCrea (Prince George Brain Injury Group, Canada)

“Sarah has been a huge, important part of me surviving the brain injury that came with the meningitis/encephalitis that I got in July 2016. When Sarah was assigned as my support worker, it was life-changing. She has been patient and kind and so knowledgable about what I am going through. She deserves to be recognised for so many thoughtful, kind and professional reasons, but mostly because she is Sarah and she cares!” (nominated by Carol Coletti)

Dr Emily Talbot (Paediatric Neuropsychologist - Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham)

“Emily has supported and helped our family ever since my son fell ill with viral encephalitis seven years ago. Whether it is listening, calling school, meeting teachers, talking to my son’s psychiatrist, she is always there to help. I can’t say enough about the amazing things she has done.” (nominated by Samantha Floch)

Dr Heather Angus-Leppan (Consultant Neurologist - Royal Free Hospital)

Heather has gone above and beyond the call of duty for Derek and his family, including being at the end of the phone and answering emails out of working hours. Giving outstanding aftercare and compassion. Always willing to answer any questions and to give reassurance when feeling confused by situation. (nominated by Derek Mizon and family)

Hannah Marklew (Clinical Psychologist - Department of Psychological Medicine, York)

Hannah has been working with me to adjust to my change in circumstances following the fall out of my encephalitis last year. Hannah is excellent at her job. She is patient, supportive, firm and enthusiastic about my recovery helping me to forge new strategies to move forward with my new life. She has been a life-saver and deserves recognition. (nominated by Sue Hardy)

*If you would like to be informed about future Encephalitis Society events, please become a memberFree membership is also available for health and medical professionals

 This event was kindly sponsored by: