My name is Mark Wiltshire and back in 2004, when I was 17 years old, I was affected by Viral Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by a viral infection. When I woke in hospital after suffering a suspected seizure caused by the inflammation, I had lost over two years’ worth of memories. This included a once in a lifetime trip to Thailand and Japan when I was luckily enough to be selected as part of the UK contingency for the world Scout Jamboree.
Nearly 20 years on I am still suffering from the side effects of the virus, namely memory issues and severe mental fatigue. I manage this by being physically fit and playing rugby for a local club, and with my passion of photography. This new passion not only helps me relax and switch off from the world, giving my mind time to reset and recover, but also aids in giving me reminders of places I have visited.
World Encephalitis Day, on Wednesday the 22nd of February, is the global awareness day for people who have been directly or indirectly affected by encephalitis. In 2021 over 150 famous places across the world, including Niagara Falls, the Melbourne Wheel, and Tower 42 in London to go Red4Wed. With the help of Bristol City Council lighting City Hall red, we hope to continue this success and increase awareness this year.
Since its launch ten years ago, World Encephalitis Day has reached over 295 million people through media features, events and social media. It is our hope that it will play a leading role in our mission to increase global awareness of encephalitis and therefore saving lives and building better futures.
Five facts about encephalitis:
1. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain
2. It is caused by an infection or through the immune system attacking the brain
3. It can have a high death rate and survivors might be left with an acquired brain injury and life-changing consequences
4. Early diagnosis and treatment can save lives and improve outcomes
5. In some cases, encephalitis can impact mental health, causing difficult to deal with emotions and behaviours, and can lead to thoughts of self-harm and even suicide
For more in formation see: www.worldencephalitisday.org
Tonight Bristol City Hall, M-Shed and Clarke Willmott’s Bristol Office by Castle Park will be lit up red in support.