A MALTON-based charity has launched a new campaign to help raise the awareness of a devastating brain condition

The Encephalitis Society, which has its head office in Castlegate, is encouraging people to take part in the World Encephalitis Day BrainWalk challenge.

Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington, an ambassador of the charity, attended the launch at the House of Commons in London to speak to MPs about her personal experiences of encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.

She also highlighted the centrepiece of this year’s global awareness campaign – the BrainWalk smartphone App. The charity’s aim is that users of the free App will have walked 52 million steps – the equivalent of walking around the world – by the end of World Encephalitis Day on February 22.

Ms Adlington said: “I was honoured to be invited to take the first steps in the BrainWalk campaign for World Encephalitis Day and to share it with MPs.”

Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of the Encephalitis Society, said: “Our hope is to bring people together whose lives have been affected by encephalitis and work towards a common goal of walking around the world to raise awareness of this devastating condition.

“Statistics show that eight out of 10 people do not know what encephalitis is – a startling figure which we are striving to improve through campaigns such as BrainWalk and World Encephalitis Day.”

The launch at the House of Commons was organised by Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake.

He said: “I am fortunate to have become familiar with the work of the Encephalitis Society since becoming an MP and was delighted to introduce the charity and its campaign for World Encephalitis Day to my colleagues at the House of Commons.

“I am already looking forward to adding my support to BrainWalk and seeing just how many steps I take on a daily basis.”

For more information, visit worldencephalitisday.org