Page 4268 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 21 September 2011

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Ten per cent of Australians will have a seizure of some kind in their lives, and one-third of those will be diagnosed with epilepsy. Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disorder, and world wide 50 million people are diagnosed with it. Up to 3.5 million Australians are directly and indirectly affected by epilepsy and around 224,000 suffer from this brain disorder. In Canberra it is estimated that there are 2,299 people with epilepsy.

The good news is that it is manageable. In fact, there are many famous people who have forged successful careers, despite this illness—Olympians, doctors, sporting legends. In Canberra we have Joshua Gordon. I have had the pleasure of meeting Josh and his mother on many occasions over the years. Joshua lives with both epilepsy and autism but has embarked on what he hopes will be a very successful career as an international ice skater. Joshua’s dream is to join Disney on Ice, and I have every belief his dreams will be realised. He is a very talented young man and his mother is, quite naturally, exceedingly proud of him.

I applaud the work that the Epilepsy Australia Foundation does. It has released this week the findings of an Australian-first longitudinal study that paints a candid picture of the psychological, social and physical challenges and barriers encountered by people with epilepsy. I urge all members of the Assembly to recognise the importance of identifying and managing this brain disorder that affects so many in our community.

I also take great pleasure in congratulating the Woden Valley Redbacks girls under-14 soccer team that travelled to Sweden and Denmark in July this year to compete in the Gothia Cup and the Dana Cup. The first port of call for the girls was the Gothia Cup, which was held in Gothenburg in Sweden, where the girls progressed through to the grand final in B group but lost on penalties to a Norwegian team.

Then they travelled to Denmark to compete in Denmark’s largest sporting event and the world’s biggest international youth soccer tournament, with 850 teams from more than 45 countries participating, which even dwarfs our own Kanga Cup, which is quite significant. The girls played through the tournament undefeated and won the grand final against Sweden in the girls under-14 category and have brought back a nine-kilo trophy. Just recently, I have been advised that they have been selected as finalists for the FFA youth team of the year and they are travelling to Sydney on 4 October to the black tie awards night at the Sheraton, where the winner will be announced.

The team is made up of the following members: Brigette Calabria, captain, Rachael Goldstein, vice-captain, Mikaela Goldstein, Siena Senatore, Julia De Angelis, Georgina Worth, Phoebe Worth, Holly Fogarty, Olivia Fogarty, Georgia Fogarty, Sandra Hill, Melissa Leary, Clea Porteous-Borthwick, Hayley Armstrong and Jamie Berkley. They were coached by David Goldstein and the assistant coach was Mark Berkley. The strapper was Joanne Adams. My constituent, who travelled with the team, was Lisa Calabria, who also provided me with the information on the Redbacks’ fantastic achievement. The first and only other time, I believe, an Australian team has won the Dana Cup was back in 1993.

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