Our Patrons and Ambassadors
Epilepsy Action Australia is fortunate to have the support of the following generous and respected individuals who dedicate their time, energy and passion to assist us in raising awareness about epilepsy. Many of the following ambassadors and patrons either have epilepsy or have had a family member with the disease, and we are sincerely grateful for their involvement.
Peter FitzSimons AMAuthor, journalist and former Wallaby; family impacted by epilepsy
Former Wallaby and respected author, Peter FitzSimons felt the enduring impact of epilepsy on his family as he was growing up. Before Peter was born, his parents lost an infant as a result of epilepsy.
‘Epilepsy can impact on all areas of a person’s life, from family to employment and dealing with prejudice…Epilepsy Action Australia does incredible work to support people with epilepsy, their families and community, and professionals.’Read More
In addition to his role as an EAA ambassador, Peter is a well respected newspaper columnist; television presenter on Fox Sports; and author of 18 best-selling books including biographies on Wallaby captain John Eales, and war heroine Nancy Wake. In 2001 and 2004 he was Australia’s biggest selling non-fiction author. He is married to Today Show co-host Lisa Wilkinson and they have three children. Peter has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia ‘for service to literature as a biographer, sports journalist and commentator, and to the community through contributions to conservation, disability care, social welfare and sporting organisations’.
Janet Holmes à Court ACSuccessful businesswoman and philanthropist
Janet Holmes à Court AC is a highly successful businesswoman, philanthropist and Chairman of the John Holland Group, one of Australia’s leading construction and engineering companies; the West Australian Symphony Orchestra; the Australian Children’s Television Foundation; and the Urban Design Centre of WA. She has won numerous awards recognising her contribution to the community and to business, including a Companion of the Order of Australia.Read More
Janet is also a Board Director of Vision 2020 Australia and a Board Member of the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund; the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM); the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO); the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG); and Chamber of Arts and Culture WA. She is a science graduate from the University of Western Australia and taught science for a number of years before working more closely with family business matters.
Luke EisenhuthSchool Educator; Developed Landau Kleffner Syndrome (a rare form of Epilepsy) at the age of 4
From the beginning, Luke was marred by a serious and very rare, form of Epilepsy called Landau Kleffner Syndrome. The condition affecting all spheres of his cognitive, emotional and social development. His life has been testing to say the least.Read More
Luke has managed to create a happy, healthy and financially successful life as a school leader and now the CEO of RIZO Education – ‘A Strategic Consulting & Education Company’. Being regarded as one of the most respected school educators in the system today, Luke lives and breathes education, with students in ore of his compassion, knowledge and character. Luke has taken his skills and futurist view to improving some of the biggest concerns in education and the world today.
“I hope in the future we see more people who have experienced or live with epilepsy achieving highly and speaking of their condition. I would like to see epilepsy detached from the stigma of being a ‘disability’, or a condition that limits one’s ability. In particular, for children and families to live with less fear, take educated risks and make more effort towards good health and a positive mindset.”
His education and experiences flex the way people think and learn. Whilst he is a special needs and education expert, he questions the future of education, human thinking and behaviour.
Mark Geyer OAMRugby League Legend and Father of two daughters with epilepsy
A committed epilepsy awareness ambassador, footie legend Mark Geyer has felt the personal distress of having two of his beautiful daughters — Montanna aged 21 and 18-year-old Kennedi —diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Mark has openly shared his story through the media to help raise awareness and spread the important message that there is help available to those living with epilepsy.Read More
Mark is a former Penrith second row forward, and a state and national representative player. Since retiring from the sport in 2000, he has made a name for himself in the media including becoming part of the Triple M on-air team and as a regular panellist 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 and his wife Meagan have five children.
Jyotsana GillTriathlete; first diagnosed with epilepsy at age 15
Jyotsana Gill is a triathlon veteran who has competed at an elite level for the last twelve years. She has also lived with epilepsy since she was first diagnosed at the age of 15. While she has had some challenges dealing with the demands of the ‘triathlete’ lifestyle and her condition, her epilepsy is currently well controlled with medication.Read More
Jyotsana describes herself as motivated and determined, consistently striving towards goals in her life not only as an athlete, but also in her previous work as an interior architect. In 2016, she decided to follow another goal and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Science specialising in osteopathic medicine at Victoria University. Over the years Jyotsana has competed in triathlon and ironman events, and in 2014 was selected to represent Australia at the ITU World Championship Long Course Triathlon in Weihai, China. Jyotsana has recently embarked on some overseas cycling trips to Europe, New Zealand, Mauritius and Vietnam, where she’s travelled solo with just a backpack on her back. Whilst juggling university with a pretty strict training regime, Jyotsana enjoys squeezing in time for family and friends, and some of Melbourne’s finest art, design and food!
Shelby KennedyLife Coach; first diagnosed with epilepsy at age 11
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 has also lived with epilepsy since the age of 11 when she had absence seizures.Read More
At 16, she began having generalised seizures after suffering a blow to the head while playing basketball. Now 27, she has been seizure-free for 11 years. Shelby is passionate about Mental Health and Wellbeing and having a positive impact on Mental Health in today’s society. She is also a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, an Accredited Extended DISC Consultant and Trainer, and a Mindset & Self Leadership Specialist who coaches and mentors individual clients and teams through 1:1 Coaching, Team Training Seminars and Workshops.
Caitlin McOmishNeuroscientist; developed epilepsy as a baby
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.
‘Epilepsy has given me an opportunity to relate to people I otherwise may not cross paths with. I’m also passionate about improving public awareness of mental health and, of course, understanding how the brain works! I like straying from people’s presumptions of who I am “supposed to be”.’Read More
She has received many awards including from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Australasian Neuroscience Society, as well as holding a NARSAD Young Investigator award. In 2015 Caitlin joined the New York Academy of Sciences as a Program Manager for the Life Sciences Discussion Groups and is still employed there today. 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 is currently our representative and ambassador in New York.
Mia OatleyArchibald Prize finalist; first diagnosed with epilepsy at age 15
Mia Oatley is a Sydney artist best known for her bold and colourful works on canvas. Mia was diagnosed with focal epilepsy at the age of 15 and has been living with her condition for the past 24 years whilst travelling the world, making lots of art and becoming a first-time Mum to a daughter last year.Read More
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. She hopes as an Epilepsy Action Australia ambassador to bring about more awareness and break down some of the existing stigmas.
Paul WadeFormer Socceroo Captain; first diagnosed with epilepsy at the age 32
Paul Wade remembers well his first seizure at the age of 32 in Buenos Aires, 1993. As the captain of Australia’s Socceroos, he was just about to hit the field to mark lengendary player Maradona in a World-Cup qualifying match when he collapsed in front of the team’s physio.Read More
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. Shortly after he underwent brain surgery to stop the seizures. The invasive treatment involved removing a piece of Paul’s brain the size of two matchboxes. Since the successful operation, he hasn’t had a seizure, although his short-term memory has been 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.
Our Funding Supporters
Epilepsy Action Australia would like to thank the following trusts, foundations, business and Government departments for their funding support in assisting us with our ongoing mission to optimise life outcomes for people with epilepsy.
NSW Health – Sydney West Area Health Service– Under its Non Government Organisation Grant Program, NSW Health – Sydney West Health Service provides funding to support our community-based health education services delivered by our epilepsy specialist nurses.
Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) – The funding support of FACS helps provide the scope and reach of services that are vital to assisting people with epilepsy lead productive and independent lives.
Lotterywest – With the generous support of Lotterywest, Epilepsy Action Australia has recently launched ‘MyEpilepsyKey’ in WA. With Lotterywest’s support, Epilepsy Action Australia will be able to provide 15,000 ‘MyEpilepsyKeys’ to Western Australians. MyEpilepsyKey provides access to a range of ever expanding and interactive online programs, tools and resources to enhance epilepsy self-management. It will assist people affected by epilepsy to maximise health outcomes and quality of life.
Ian Potter Foundation – The Foundation has assisted with a project to develop, pilot and launch a fully interactive online epilepsy education resource for carers and workers in the disability sector. The resource aims to improve the process of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment in people with intellectual disabilities.
Gandel Philanthropy – Australia’s largest independent family philanthropic fund has been a generous supporter over several years. Most recently, Gandel Philanthropy provided a major grant to help us develop, pilot and launch a fully interactive online epilepsy education resource for carers and workers in the disability sector. The resource aims to improve the process of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment in people with intellectual disabilities.
UCB Australia is an affiliate of UCB – a global biopharmaceutical company with a focus on neurology and immunology. The company was instrumental in supporting the launch of the ‘MyEpilepsyKey’ online information and resource hub. UCB has also supported Medikidz, our new digital comic to help children aged between 8-12 years understand epilepsy. UCB Australia sees great alignment with the vision and values of Epilepsy Action Australia as they both strive for positive impact through innovation and collaboration.
Collier Charitable Fund – Being a long-time supporter of Epilepsy Action Australia, Collier Charitable Fund has provided very generous financial support for a range of vital programs and services and this year have provided funding for an early intervention program targeting families with children diagnosed with epilepsy.
Department of Family and Community Services – Youth Opportunities (FACS) – With their support, Epilepsy Action Australia has run a NSW Youth Conference this year, which provided youth with peer support and strategies to help young people better self-manage their epilepsy.
Cumberland Council – With the support of Cumberland Council, Epilepsy Action Australia will be able to run an Epilepsy Awareness and Education Program for key CALD communities.
ANZ Staff Foundation – With their support, Epilepsy Action Australia has run a NSW Youth Conference this year, which provided youth with peer support and strategies to help young people better self-manage their epilepsy. The ANZ Staff Foundation have also provided funding to assist us run epilepsy training that targets remote and rural area nurses.
Sutherland Shire Council – Thanks to the community grant provided by the council, we were able to deliver an epilepsy awareness and education program in the Sutherland Shire area.
With the support of the following clubs, Epilepsy Action Australia will be able to deliver its EpiSmart program that will help people with epilepsy and their families in these areas.
- Ashfield RSL Club
- Brighton-Le-Sands RSL Club
- Chatswood RSL Club
- Club Central
- Goulburn Soldiers Club
- Goulburn Workers
- Hornsby RSL Club
- Merrylands RSL Club
- Rockdale RSL Club
- Rooty Hill RSL Club
- Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club
Our Business Partners
Epilepsy Action Australia wishes to thank the following partners for helping us with our ongoing mission to optimise life outcomes for people with epilepsy.
Epilepsy Action Australia partners with HealthMatch to assist people living with epilepsy to gain quick and easy access to clinical trials from a network of care teams around the world and also to reduce the time you spend searching. HealthMatch is a clinical trial matching platform, designed to make accessing clinical trials much easier for patients.
We partner with the ORS Group (ORS) to assist individuals find and/or maintain suitable and sustainable employment based on their personal needs and circumstances . This includes disability and injury management, return to work programs, workplace modifications, and development of supportive work environments.
Epilepsy Action Australia partners with Relationships Australia , a leading provider of relationship support services for individuals, couples, families and communities. They offer services around the country that include counselling, family dispute resolution (mediation) and a range of family and community support and education programs.
Epilepsy Action Australia partners with healthdirect , a federal government funded organisation that provides easy access to trusted, quality health information and advice online and over the phone (1800 022 222). The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you make informed choices anywhere, anytime.
Epilepsy Action Australia partners with Livewire to help provide a free, safe and supportive online community for young people, aged over 10 and under 21, living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability. This partnership is mutually beneficial and focused on extending the services and reach of both partners.
In 2007, our partnership with The George Institute for Global Health lead to the Sydney Epilepsy Incidence Study to Measure Illness Consequences (SEISMIC) – a major research project exploring the incidence, psychosocial impact and household economic burden of epilepsy in a large population.
Wild Panther Fitness (WPF), an online community for anything and everything fitness, has selected Epilepsy Action Australia as their charity of choice. Directors of WPF Mark Geyer (also one of our generous ambassadors) and Scott Lewis are dedicated to the cause, and aim to raise much needed funds and awareness of epilepsy.
Partner With Us
Epilepsy Action Australia relies on community and corporate support to assist us in our work of supporting people with epilepsy and those who care for them. If you are interested in exploring ways your organisation can partner with us to further expand and enhance our services, please get in touch with us now.
Become an Official Supporter
Want to make a real difference to people’s lives? We’d love to hear from you about how we might work together.