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World Encephalitis Day 2018: Leeds-Based Lawyers Join Fight To Help Raise Awareness Of The Disease

World Encephalitis Day Is On 22nd February

19.02.2018

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

A play that tells the story of a woman who suffered from encephalitis at just three weeks old is being hosted by expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds at the West Yorkshire Playhouse to mark a global awareness day.

The woman, who is a former client of Rachelle Mahapatra, the head of the Irwin Mitchell medical negligence team in Leeds, suffered irreversible brain damage due to her GP and the hospital failing to diagnose encephalitis.

World Encephalitis Day is a global campaign led by The Encephalitis Society that aims to raise awareness of the condition, an inflammation of the brain, which affects 500,000 people around the world each year.

In the UK alone, encephalitis affects 6,000 people annually – more than better-known conditions such as motor neurone disease. It is caused by either an infection of the brain, or by the immune system attacking the brain in error.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has supported The Encephalitis Society for many years and now they are urging others to get behind the charity and take part in the fifth World Encephalitis Day on 22 February.

Irwin Mitchell will be hosting a special performance of the play Tracing Grace, telling their former client’s story, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The play, which was supported in development by the Encephalitis Society, is part of a programme of events being put on to celebrate the law firm becoming the Playhouse’s Principal Partner.

Tracing Grace will be performed at the Playhouse on 26 February 2018. The play tells the story of Grace, who since suffering from encephalitis at just three weeks old has gone on to achieve amazing things despite needing help and support for the rest of her life due to her injuries.

Sarah Coles, a medical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: 

Expert Opinion
“We work closely with The Encephalitis Society to raise awareness of encephalitis to the general public, having represented many sufferers and their families over the years, we’ve seen first-hand the terrible impact the condition can have.

“The campaign is dedicated to raising as much awareness as possible, and we are thrilled to help support World Encephalitis Day. Tracing Grace is a fantastic play which really does highlight the impact the disease can have on people’s lives. Not just the impact on those diagnosed with encephalitis, but also their family and friends.”
Sarah Coles, Partner

The World Encephalitis Society are urging people to get involved on February 22nd by wearing RED4WED.

Dr Ava Easton, Chief Executive of The Encephalitis Society, said: “Encephalitis has a widespread and long-lasting impact, which is why our aim is to make as many people as possible aware of the condition and the devastation it can leave in its wake.

“Research suggests that eight out of 10 people do not know what encephalitis is, which is why it’s so important that people join us in raising awareness of the disease.”

People can also join in prior to World Encephalitis Day 2018 by downloading the free BrainWalk app available on all Apple and Android phones.

BrainWalk has been especially designed by The Distance for World Encephalitis Day 2018.

Once someone has signed up, they will join a team and their daily walking activity will be recorded alongside others across the world.

Dr Easton, who was a Consultant Producer to Tracing Grace, added: “Our hope is to bring people together whose lives have been affected by encephalitis to work to-wards a common goal of walking around the world to raise awareness finishing on World Encephalitis Day.

“We believe BrainWalk will get people moving, get people thinking and, crucially, reduce the often overwhelming sense of isolation that can follow an acquired brain injury.

“We estimate that it takes 52.8 million steps to walk around the globe. In isolation that seems like an impossible figure, but we can and we will do it – especially if you recruit your friends and family to BrainWalk.”

For more information regarding encephalitis and how you can get involved with and support World Encephalitis Day, visit www.worldencephalitisday.org.