Elaine is the founder member of the Encephalitis Society, a charity which supports individuals who have had Encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain usually caused by an infection or auto-immune response to infection. She took the initiative to start up the society with a couple of other affected families in 1994 after they found themselves isolated and in the dark about the condition and its effects. The society has since grown into a national charity that provides advice, information, support groups, regional representatives, does dedicated research to improve outcomes and holds social events to enable sufferers to share experiences. I had Encephalitis the year before the society was formed and for 11 years struggled to cope, felt very alone and totally lost my sense of identity and direction and it was only once I found the society in 2004 that I met others who had had the same condition and finally regained a sense of identity and learnt some strategies to cope with the effects of it. I can honestly say that for myself the support and information the society provided was a turning point in my life and I would not be where I was today had I not found them and the many friends I have made through them. It was once said by a society member that the society is 'a light in a very dark place' and for Elaine to be a torch bearer would be a way that I and all the members of the society could say a huge thank you for putting her frustrations to good use back in 1993.