In 2011, Team VIVA! was given the opportunity to work with the Australian epilepsy patient support associations to help raise awareness of this often stigmatised brain disorder. We heard from the associations about their tireless efforts to raise the profile of epilepsy in Australia, and we listened intently as they expressed their concerns for the unfair treatment of people affected by this highly stigmatised condition.

This year, we joined epilepsy support associations again to raise awareness of the country’s most common, chronic brain disorder; and sadly, we were met with a similar story. Epilepsy is often over-looked in Australia, and the condition continues to be poorly understood by our community.

So, when Team VIVA! heard from key epilepsy researchers that almost one-in-two Aussies living with the condition experience unfair treatment or discrimination in the workplace, we felt compelled to share this information with a wider audience, to help dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings surrounding epilepsy and seizures.

By taking the time to speak to some of the people living with epilepsy, and their families, we came to understand some of the challenges associated with the condition, such as the physical, mental and social barriers.

The research only confirmed what those affected by epilepsy have known for quite some time.

However, the inspiring tales of courage, positivity and persistence, among all epilepsy case studies, proved to us that such barriers can be overcome.

Team VIVA! wishes to extend a huge thank you to all those involved in helping us shed light on this stigmatised disorder, including the patient associations, epilepsy experts and everyday heroes nation-wide.

A special thank you to living legend, Wally Lewis, and JeansWest ambassador and reality TV star, Nathan Jolliffe, who so generously donated their time to share their personal epilepsy experiences with the public via the media yesterday.

Over the past few months, we’ve worked tirelessly to help extend epilepsy awareness messages nation-wide, and we’re proud of the outcomes we’ve achieved. The journey has certainly been worth it!

Good work deserves recognition: huge congratulations to VIVA! team members, Mahsa and Abbey, for a stellar job on the campaign!

Kirsten Bruce, Principal

P.s. Don’t forget to wear purple next Tuesday, March 26 for Purple Day – a global epilepsy awareness initiative. Stay tuned for Team VIVA! updates next week!