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TAKING A STRIDE FOR EPILEPSY

ENTERTAINMENT group CROON has formed its own team to raise funds for Epilepsy Tasmania’s Walk for Epilepsy virtual event.

Epilepsy Tasmania is encouraging people to take to the streets from 1 to 25 October as part of Walk for Epilepsy to support the one in 25 Australians who have the disorder.

COVID-19 restrictions have meant that the planned outdoor event was replaced with the 25-day virtual walk, where people could set their own goals and walk in their own time.

Epilepsy Tasmania chief executive officer Wendy Groot said the funds raised would help people with epilepsy and their families.

“We’re asking people to walk, run, cycle or swim in their local suburb and tally up the distance covered to reach a national collective target of 25,000 kilometres,” she said.

“We want them to set their own kilometre goal, set their fundraising target and hit the footpath.”

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain characterised by recurrent seizures, with people experiencing epilepsy differently depending on the part of the brain the seizure starts and how far it spreads.

Ms Groot said 20,000 Tasmanians have epilepsy, with a further 80,000 family members, colleagues and school friends directly affected.

“People with epilepsy are more prone to seizures when they have heightened anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation,” she said.

“COVID-19 is exacerbating this and even here in the relative safety of Tasmania we have had more phone calls and support requests than in any other year.

“We have a nurse and social worker who travel the state to provide personalised support and training.

“If you know someone who has epilepsy and is in need of support, please encourage them to reach out to Epilepsy Tasmania or discuss their possible psychosocial or health issues with their physician to prevent further deterioration.”

Ms Groot said many Tasmanians had already jumped on board the fundraiser, including local celebrities that people could sponsor and a canine team that people could join with their dog.

“We hope people will ask their friends, family and neighbours to sponsor their challenge,” she said.

CROON member and Epilepsy Tasmania ambassador Colin Dean said CROON entered a team in the walk to help raise awareness about epilepsy.

“We want to increase the awareness of the fact that epilepsy is probably one of the biggest burdens on the Tasmanian health system, and that is something that Epilepsy Tasmania is working towards fixing by letting people know that we’re here to support all types of people in various ways,” he said.

“We thought along our walk we might stop and entertain people by singing a few songs as well.”

For more information or to register for the Walk for Epilepsy, visit www.walkforepilepsy.org.au.