Ambassadors of Epilepsy Action Australia
Mark Geyer OAM
Mark Geyer is a former Penrith second row forward, a state and national representative player and a legend of rugby league. His club career spanned from 1986 to 2000, since retiring, he has made a name for himself in the media. Since August 2009, Mark has been part of the Triple M on-air team for the Sydney breakfast show called The Grill Team and is a regular panelist on a number of NRL television shows on free to air and Fox Sports. In 2000, Mark was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in rugby league. In 2013 he received an Order Of Australia medal for "service to the sport of Rugby League football, and to the community through a range of charitable organisations."
Mark is a committed family man. He and his wife Meagan have 5 children: Logan, Montanna, Kennedy, Mavrik and Rafferti. Recently Mark was bought to tears on his morning radio show whilst opening up about his family’s experience with epilepsy. Montanna and Kennedy have both been diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Mark shared his story to help raise awareness and get the message out that there is help available to those living with epilepsy.
Jyotsana is a triathlon veteran, competing for the last 9 years. Her interest in triathlons began as a hobby but in the past couple of years she has been competing at a higher level in a variety of distances. Jyotsana has recently been selected to represent Australia at the ITU World Championship Long Course Triathlon in Weihai, China.
Jyotsana developed epilepsy at the age of 15 and like most people living with the impact of this condition has had some challenges dealing with the demands of 'triathlete' lifestyle. Her epilepsy is however currently well controlled with medication. Jyotsana describes herself as motivated and determined, consistently striving towards goals in her life not only as a triathlete, but also as an interior architect.
Whilst sticking to a pretty strict training regime, Jyotsana enjoys squeezing in time for overseas travel, family and friends, and some of Melbourne’s finest including art, design and food! After competing in China, Jyotsana is working towards her first Ironman in her hometown in March 2015.
Shelby Kennedy, founder and director of The Mindset Movement is a Master Practitioner of Life Coaching and an Associate Member of the International Coach Guild (ICG). She is also a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, an Accredited Extended DISC Consultant and Trainer and she is also a Mindset & Self Leadership Specialist who coaches and mentors individual clients and teams through 1:1 Coaching, Team Training Seminars and Workshops.
Shelby has had epilepsy since the age of 11 when she had absence seizures. At 16, she began having generalised seizures after suffering a blow to the head while playing basketball. Now 24, she has been seizure-free for eight years.
Shelby is passionate about Mental Health and Wellbeing and having a positive impact on Mental Health in todays society.
Caitlin developed epilepsy as a baby, having up to 30 seizures a day, but with her parents support and her own determination she overcame the odds and is now a promising neuroscientist.
Caitlin received her PhD from the University of Melbourne. She was then awarded an NH&MRC overseas biomedical fellowship to undergo postdoctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center, NY, USA. She has received several awards and honours including awards from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Australasian Neuroscience Society, as well as holding a current NARSAD Young Investigator award. Caitlin currently works at The New York Academy of Sciences, it's mission is to advance understanding of science and technology.
Caitlin is an advocate of Epilepsy Action Australia and an ambassador for people living with epilepsy. She has contributed directly to EAA as a Director of its Board from March 2008 until October 2011 and currently is our representative and ambassador in New York.
Mia Oatley is a Sydney artist best known for her bold and colourful works on canvas. Mia has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize, Mossman Prize, Portia Geach, Waverley Art Prize, and Salon Des Refuses. Her work has been exhibited and collected enthusiastically Australia wide and internationally.
Mia was diagnosed with focal epilepsy at the age of 15 and has been living with her condition for the past 23 years whilst travelling the world, making lots of art and is getting ready to become a first time Mum. She hopes as an ambassador to bring about more awareness and break down some of the existing stigmas.
These days Paul Wade stashes his keys and mobile phone in a bum bag so he doesn’t forget where he left them. But he’ll always remember his first seizure. It was in Buenos Aires, 1993, and he was 32, the celebrated captain of Australia's national soccer team.
He was just about to hit the field to mark Maradona in a World-Cup qualifying match when he collapsed in front of the Socceroos physio.
Paul hid his epilepsy for years as he moved on to work as a soccer commentator. But his secret was revealed in the most public way possible - he had a seizure while broadcasting a live interview in 2001. Eventually, Paul was offered the chance to undergo brain surgery to stop the seizures. The invasive treatment involved injecting a radioactive substance that travels to the brain to see which part was causing the seizures. Then a piece of Paul's brain the size of two matchboxes was removed. The operation was a success and Paul walked out of the hospital after just seven days. He hasn’t had a seizure since although his short term memory was affected.
Paul who now works as a motivational speaker and sports commentator, credits Epilepsy Action Australia with providing invaluable support through his ordeal. He takes every opportunity to raise the profile of epilepsy and our organisation.