07-12-2016 | Joe Schmidt launches 2017 National Saddle Up For Epilepsy cycle

'07-12-2016 | Joe Schmidt launches 2017 National Saddle Up For Epilepsy cycle' image

Ireland Rugby Head Coach Joe Schmidt has launched the 2017 National Saddle Up For Epilepsy and Epilepsy Ireland's Strategic Plan (2017 – 2021), in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin.

The National Saddle For Epilepsy cycle takes place on February 25th 2017 in Breaffy Sports Arena, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Now in its third year, the growing event aims to help raise funds for Epilepsy Ireland's support services and increase public awareness of the condition.

Speaking at the launch, Ireland Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt said: "The effort of all the organisers and volunteers is inspiring and this event proves the positive impact sports can have in supporting a charity. I would encourage everyone with an interest in epilepsy to register for The National Saddle Up For Epilepsy cycle – an effort which I'm sure will continue to increase in popularity well into the future. I'm also delighted to again to working away with Epilepsy Ireland – a charity that provides crucial support for people with epilepsy across the country."

The cycle is organised by Brenda Quigg who had her first ever seizure seven years ago: "At first I ignored my epilepsy, hoping it would go away. But over the next few years the seizures began to grow in intensity, as did my work-related stress."The Castlebar native had so much passion for the cause of epilepsy she organized the inaugural cycle in 2015 in just three months: "We managed to double the number of cyclists in the following year to over 450 and I'm hoping it grows again in 2017 as we're focusing on participants from across the country. This cycle would not be possible if it wasn't for all our wonderful sponsors who provide fantastic support. Most importantly I'd to thank Joe Schmidt for supporting the launch and all our wonderful volunteers – this effort really make a significant difference to the lives of people with epilepsy across the country." 

Epilepsy Ireland CEO, Peter Murphy said: "The dedication of Brenda and her team is inspiring. They are rapidly making Saddle Up for Epilepsy one of our most successful fundraising events, with all funds going towards STEPS, our epilepsy-self management programme for people with epilepsy and parents of children with epilepsy. This new flagship service has already been shown to make a huge difference to the lives of people living with epilepsy. Not only that, the event is instrumental in raising awareness and improving understanding of epilepsy, an often hidden, misunderstood and stigmatised condition"

Epilepsy Ireland is the national organisation supporting and representing people with epilepsy, their families and carers. Established in 1966, the charity today provides a wide range of support and information services from head office in Dublin and from nine locations around the country. The charity also provides training programmes for both health professionals and for young adults with epilepsy; actively works to improve public understanding of epilepsy and funds high quality Irish research into the condition.

Epilepsy is the tendency to have recurring seizures. It can affect people of all ages, but is more prevalent in children, adolescents and the elderly. It is also more common in people with an intellectual disability. It is a treatable condition and the majority of people can become seizure-free thanks to medications or in some cases through surgical intervention. However, for about one in three people, existing treatments do not control the seizures and for this group in particular, epilepsy can be particularly debilitating, affecting the person's education, employment, psychological & social functioning, self-esteem and independent living.

To register for the 2017 National Saddle Up For Epilepsy log onto www.saddleupforepilepsy.com.