Matinees at the cinema for students and purple benches in the green spaces of the cities, to say enough to the stigma that still discriminates against people who suffer from epilepsy. On the occasion of the International Day dedicated to neurological disease, which is celebrated today 12 February, Lice (Italian League against Epilepsy) and the Lice Foundation launch the 'Epilepsy at the cinema: tales of real stories' campaigns. Meetings with schools' and 'Put epilepsy on the bench', so that the spotlight on epilepsy remains on not only on this day, but 365 days a year. Furthermore, this evening, purple – the symbolic color of International Epilepsy Day – will return to illuminate the main Italian monuments.
“Epilepsy is a chronic disease that inevitably impacts the daily life of those who suffer from it, even in relationships with people, schoolmates, friends”, says Laura Tassi, president of Lice and neurologist of the Epilepsy Surgery Center and Parkinson's 'Claudio Munari' at the Niguarda hospital in Milan. “We want to reiterate our commitment against social stigma towards people with epilepsy – she adds – by once again addressing young people”. Hence the initiative promoted in collaboration with Anec (National Association of Cinema Exhibitors), dedicated to secondary school students. In 10 cities across the peninsula, each home to a high school coordinator, students and their teachers will be able to attend the screening of 'Out of Water', a short film based on the story of a boy with epilepsy, presented last year at Giffoni Film Festival and at the Venice International Film Festival. This will be followed by the Lice docufilm 'Dissonanze', which tells the story of two young adults' experience of life with epilepsy. At the end, a debate animated by the Lice regional coordinator.
Not only. In the main Italian cities, the installation of purple benches in local gardens, parks, avenues and inside hospitals is promoted: a long-term project that may continue over the years. The benches will bear a plaque with the Lice Foundation logo and a special phrase. Together with the Big Bench Community Project Foundation, Lice will create a purple bench designed specifically by the American designer Christopher Edward Bangle. “The purple benches will represent a lasting testimony to the fact that epilepsy is a disease with a strong social impact, but little known and a source of discrimination”, underlines Oriano Mecarelli, past president of Lice. “It will be nice to sit on our benches to encourage the inclusion of people with epilepsy and the claim 'Put epilepsy on the bench' also has a particular metaphorical meaning: let's make sure we can defeat epilepsy and the stigma it entails” , is the message.
“It is truly an honor for us to be able to involve Italian children and students this year to raise their awareness on the topic of epilepsy, highlighting how important social inclusion is for those living with epilepsies. We want to build an educational path with them and dissemination so that epilepsy is no longer scary and those who suffer from it no longer have to hide”, comments Antonio Gambardella, president of Fondazione Lice.
“Always at the forefront in supporting information and training campaigns on topics of primary importance, Anec – declares the president of the association, Mario Lorini – has already in the past favored the widest diffusion of commercials on topics of social and is pleased to welcome the school world to the initiative, in a market phase characterized by the full recovery of cinema attendance. A recovery started thanks to the young audience and which is also experiencing the great return of school groups to the cinema in recent months” .
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