Epilepsy Action Australia exists to ultimately save and improve the lives of those affected by epilepsy. Our ‘Vision’, ‘Mission’, ‘Values’ and ‘Key Focus Areas’ as outlined below shape the way we behave and deliver our services and support.
Optimal outcomes for those living with epilepsy
Epilepsy Action Australia delivers innovative services that increase understanding, raise awareness, develop skills and leverage research to enhance the lives of those living with the condition.
Key Focus Areas:
1. Assistance and Advice – We offer care, information and services needed by those affected by epilepsy, their family and friends, and provide individualised support and self-management plans.
2. Education and Training – As Australia’s leading provider of online courses and self-management resources we meet the learning and training requirements of a diverse range of audiences including children, teenagers, parents, healthcare professionals, teachers, aged care workers and indigenous groups.
3. Understanding and Awareness – Public awareness and education on how to assist with seizure first aid is our way of combating the stigma and ignorance that still surrounds epilepsy in Australia.
4. Supporting Research – We are at the forefront of partnering and funding research into new interventions and treatments including trials of medicinal cannabis to help improve and save lives.
In 2017, Epilepsy Action Australia introduced a new logo that we feel encapsulates the heart, mind and heritage of our organisation.
Visually the elements of the logo represent the brain – the centre point of the condition, and the heart – our focus on care and empathy.
It retains a visual representation of the flame as an established epilepsy symbol of hope and light, but which also illustrates our 65 year history and status as Australia’s oldest epilepsy organisation.
Together with the tagline ‘life impacting change’, we believe that our logo is a perfect symbol of the assertive, dynamic and innovative approach we take in making a difference to the lives of those affected by the condition.
Epilepsy Action Australia has been serving Australians with epilepsy for over 65 years.
It all began with one heartbroken Sydney mother called Marie Trusler who, due to her own health issues, was forced to place her 9-year-old daughter with severe epilepsy in the care of a psychiatric hospital – the only place that would take her.
Her daughter, Beverly came out of the hospital ‘a broken child’ and Marie vowed that no-one else should suffer in this way.
With a remarkable spirit and determination, Marie founded the Epileptic Welfare Association in 1952 gathering together a group of 30 dedicated parents and likeminded people.
Together these early pioneers played a part in shaping the organisation that has become Epilepsy Action Australia – an unwavering support and ally to countless Australian individuals and families living with the condition.
1950s – From personal tragedy comes the hope of a new association
1952: A group of 30 concerned parents and likeminded people led by Marie Trusler found the Epileptic Welfare Association in Sydney to lend support to each other but with the ultimate ambition of providing alternative accommodation to psychiatric hospitals for children with epilepsy in need of temporary or permanent care.
1953: The Association commences fundraising through raffles, cake stalls, railway collection appeals, and in 1955 ‘Housie’ evenings, working towards realising ambitious plans that include accommodation and therapy services for people with severe epilepsy.
1957: The Association grows to 200 members.
1960s – Providing shelter and care for those in need
1967: The association acquires the ‘Fairholme’ property – a former country club at Pennant Hills complete with 14 rooms and five acre grounds.
1968: The Epileptic Nursing Home opens and the first four residents move in. It provides permanent or temporary accommodation for people with epilepsy of any age whose parents or guardians are undergoing medical treatment or seeking respite.
1969: The first Annual General Meeting of the Association as a public company limited by guarantee is held. This is an example of the foresight of the early members as it allows the organisation greater flexibility for future expansion.
1970s – Leading the way in epilepsy management
1975: Government funding is secured, giving a more stable base for building services.
1976: The first ‘self-help’ group is established, enabling people affected by epilepsy to organise meetings for peer support and information assisted by the Association.
1980s – Focusing on independence and self-management
Epilepsy Action Australia becomes a member of the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) at least as far back as the 1980s.
1981: Professional education services are launched to recognise the importance of greater awareness of epilepsy and seizure response – especially among those working in a caring role such as nurses and welfare providers.
1982: Awareness initiative Miss Junior NSW Quest begins.
1984: Name changes to The Epilepsy Association of NSW.
1986: Regular country outreach services begin.
1987: Action Industries, a work training centre for people with epilepsy, is set up assisted by a government grant of $18,000 a year.
1988: The first children’s camp is held giving young people with epilepsy a chance to connect with others facing similar challenges.
1990s – A period of growth
1997: New national logo is introduced.
1999: The organisation opens its first regional office in Canberra and begins extending its services into all states and territories of Australia.
2000s – Consolidation and innovation
2000: Changes its name to Epilepsy Association and establishes a nationwide telephone service.
2001: The first website is launched.
2002: Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Cairns offices open, then Adelaide in 2003.
2003: After 36 years, Fairholme services is transferred to Disability Services Australia, in keeping with the organisation’s modern-day emphasis on inclusion within the community.
2004: Introduction of outreach services into Western Australia, with a permanent physical presence established in Perth in 2007.
2005: The Epilepsy Action ‘brand’ or trading name is introduced to signify a firm commitment to working for positive change and also to differentiate the organisation from local state based associations and support groups.
2010: EAA launches the Sydney Epilepsy Incidence Study to Measure Illness Consequences (SEISMIC) conducted by The George Institute for Global Health and supported by the Federal Government.
2012: Launch of Online Academy – the only real-time learning available in Australia tailored to different audiences.
2016: EAA wins Highly Commended award at the ANZIA (Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards) recognising our work in developing Yarning Epilepsy – the online epilepsy education module specifically for indigenous community and health workers.
2017: New logo and website introduced.