Rebecca has accepted an invitation to become the latest Ambassador of the Encephalitis Society, a national charity and the only resource of its kind in the world supporting people affected by the illness.
Rebecca’s sister Laura was seriously ill in 2005 with Encephalitis, a life threatening illness which leaves many of those who survive with injury to the brain. Laura made a good recovery, however the experience and its effect upon the family has stayed with Rebecca. Following Rebecca’s success at the Beijing Olympics and her subsequent rise in popularity, Rebecca was determined to make charitable work part of her agenda – an obvious choice was of course a cause close to her heart.
Rebecca says: “Having seen at first hand how the illness affected my sister Laura and how little we knew about it at the time, my hope is to work with the team in order to raise awareness of the illness to help sufferers and their families. I’m pleased that my success in the swimming pool will enable me to increase the understanding of the disease and make sure that other families don’t have to go through the experience we had.”
Ava Easton, Development Manager, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Rebecca join our team of VIP supporters. We can’t wait to tell the members of the Society, especially since Rebecca has made it clear she wants to be really hands-on, meeting as many of them as she can. It is a timely year for Rebecca to come on board, 2009 is our 15th birthday and so this makes the year even more special for us all”.
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, usually caused by infection. The condition is indiscriminate, striking adults and children alike, showing no respect for age, gender, ethnic origin or culture.
Mortality rates are high and many of those who survive are left with an acquired brain injury, the degree and severity of which will vary. Their difficulties may include cognitive, physical, emotional, behavioural, or psychosocial consequences.
The Encephalitis Society was founded in 1994, is a registered charity and the only resource of its kind in the world providing direct support and information to people affected by Encephalitis. The Society answers over 2000 calls for support and information from people affected and their families in the UK and Ireland, each year. Their Website receives 2000 hits from all over the world each week and the staff team do what they can to respond to the many requests and emails received from across the globe.
A link to Rebecca’s Ambassador profile on the Encephalitis Society website; http://www.encephalitis.info/TheSociety/WhoWho/Ambassador.aspx