On October 13th The European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) held its annual Neurology Advocacy Awards.
These awards recognise the contribution of an individual or group to the development and promotion of advocacy for people with neurological disorders in Europe.
This year’s winners were presented with their awards at a Gala Dinner in Dublin on October 13th.
The winning European Policy-Maker for 2016 was Marian Harkin MEP.
She was nominated for her award, jointly, by the International Bureau for Epilepsy and Pain Alliance Europe.
Marian is currently a co-chair of the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain – but has been long-term champion of health issues in the European Parliament.
She was presented with her award by last year’s winner – Gay Mitchell, former MEP.
The second award of the evening was for European Health Professional, and went to Professor Paola Giunti.
An ataxia specialist, Prof. Giunti was nominated for her work in the field – including the establishment of a specialist ataxia centre – a bespoke health service made in partnership with patients.
Speaking on the evening, Cathalijne van Doorne of Euro-Ataxia also commended Prof. Giunti for her voluntary work with patient organisations and the wider patient community.
She was presented with her prize on the evening by Prof. David Vodusek, member of the judging panel – representing the European Academy of Neurology.
Left to right: Cathalijne van Doorne, Vice-President of EFNA, Professor Paola Giunti, Dr. David Vodusek
The final award of the evening was presented to Alistair Newton – the winning European Patient Advocate.
Not only was Alistair involved in the foundation of Dystonia Europe but also in organisations such as EFNA and the European Brain Council.
Explaining why he was put forward for the award, Monika Benson of Dystonia Europe said: “We thank Alistair for his dedicated work and all his efforts over the last 30 years, a true patient advocate whose mission has stimulated fruitful collaboration and created many successful partnerships to benefit patients within neurology, especially dystonia.”
Audrey Craven, Past President of the European Federation of Neurological Associations [EFNA] was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award; acknowledging her long-time commitment to the cause. This was presented by Eveline Sipido of the European Academy of Neurology last year’s winner, who said: “In all these years and in spite of the condition she lives with, Audrey never lost the good spirits nor gave up so I think that with Oscar Wilde’s help I can perfectly summarise what she did: The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.”