E-360 Edition 17: Feature – Raising Community Awareness

Home > E-360 Edition 17: Feature – Raising Community Awareness

A vital part of our role at Epilepsy Action is to spread awareness of epilepsy.  We often hear from our clients and supporters that there is just not enough awareness or information in the broader community. Due to this lack of knowledge, misconceptions abound. A crucial part of all our campaigns is to actively educate and inform. We believe that the only way to combat misunderstandings about epilepsy, seizures and treatments is to articulate the facts and spread awareness. This will in turn reduce misconceptions and foster understanding and acceptance amongst the wider community.

Our campaign Know Epilepsy. No Fear. has been widely promoted and shared among our followers and fundraisers. Simplicity often works best with messaging, from posters to t-shirts we are spreading awareness by showing off this slogan. You may have noticed that this slogan has attracted recent media coverage, helping further raise awareness of epilepsy in the community.

Three very talented and resilient individuals have also been raising awareness of epilepsy. Paul Wade a much sought after professional speaker and soccer master; Karley Miller a very talented young, up and coming photographer; and Stephanie Reggardo a gifted artist. All living with epilepsy and thriving.

PAUL WADE

A talented soccer player from a young age, Paul put in the hard yards to secure a spot in the National team, playing a total of 118 games for Australia between 1986 and 1996 and playing in two FIFA World Cup qualifying campaigns (1990 and 1994).

Paul’s experience and popularity as an Australian international allowed for an easy transition to a career as a sports presenter and Paul has worked with all major TV networks and Pay TV hosting or commentating on football shows covering the A League and World Cup Campaigns.

Paul has achieved all this whilst living with the unpredictable nature of epilepsy. “Don’t get me wrong, it has not been an easy path but I just put in the hard work and never give up even when I wanted to.”

Paul is passionate about raising awareness of epilepsy and bringing the best out in everybody no matter the age or level of ability. Starting Paul Wade Life Skills which is an inclusive programme visiting schools across Australia where Paul and his wife Val provide information and education about epilepsy while motivating and team building.

Paul is also a highly sought after entertaining and inspirational speaker, telling stories of his international experiences prompted by his collection of rare soccer jerseys interweaving the journey of life before and after brain surgery and the adjustments he and his family have made.

Paul’s passion for epilepsy awareness, sport and life continues today and is clearly visible in his presentations to all and sundry from school and sporting clubs to the upper echelon of the business world.

To read more about Paul’s life, Paul Wade Life Skills and his role as a Professional Speaker go to www.paulwade.com.au

KARLEY MILLER

Talented up and coming photographer, Karley Miller from Central Western NSW has faced and overcome many challenges in her short life.

Karley, 19, was born with cerebral palsy and Sturge Weber Syndrome, a rare neurological condition involving a tangle of blood vessels in the brain leading to frequent severe seizures, headaches and for Karley a visual impairment. Classified as legally blind this photographer has remarkable clarity in her vision for her photographic compositions.

In 2015, Karley faced the difficult decision to undergo a hemispherectomy to remove half of her brain with the support of her family and surgeon. Not only did the surgery relieve the disabling headaches, the seizures stopped the day after surgery.

With her new lease on life Karley ventured into photography, being given the opportunity by the Sebastian Foundation to travel to the United States for tutoring and work experience with award winning photographers. Upon her return she held her inaugural photography exhibition in Cowra.

A professional photographer with an impressive portfolio, Karley is giving back by composing enchanting portraits of children with special needs.

Also donating a piece of her work for the Art For Epilepsy Auction helping to raise money for the cause Karley is passionate about raising awareness of epilepsy and those living with special needs. Karley believes “Through the lens of a camera we can change perceptions.”

To view Karley’s work go to www.ArtForEpilepsy.com.au and Karley Miller Photography on Facebook.

STEPHANIE REGGARDO

An artist from East Gippsland in Victoria, Stephanie has been living with epilepsy since she was 16 years old. Now in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts at Federation University her creation, Epileptic Vision is based on her personal experience of epilepsy. Her pieces often feature jellyfish, depicting the muscle jerks and twitches she experiences from her Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy, much like shocks without the electricity like those from a jellyfish sting.

Many people have little knowledge or awareness of epilepsy and through her art Stephanie is raising awareness of epilepsy and her lived experience of the unique sensation of her seizures.

To view more of Stephanie’s art and her piece for the Art For Epilepsy Auction go to www.ArtForEpilepsy.com.au and Stephanie Reggardo@_stephreg_Instagram